Hayek revealed she was one of the major contenders for the female lead of Trinity in the 1999 film, which was ultimately won by Carrie-Anne Moss. While appearing on the Facebook Watch show Red Table Talk with host Jada Pinkett Smith, Hayek said that her friendship with the actor and talk show presenter began when they both lost the part.
“We had jumped through many hurdles and screen testing and many auditions, and they brought these stunt coordinators from Asia and it was the physical test,” Hayek remembered during the episode. “Now I’m flexible, I’m agile, but I’m lazy. I never really went to the gym.”
She continued: “They said to me, ‘You have to run!’ I go, ‘To where?!’ ‘Around, you have to run around’ – I couldn’t even go around the room once, I was [panting].”
Hayek then remembered Pinkett Smith entering the training room after her, dubbing her a “mean, lean, sexy machine”.
“Oh my god, she was so good!” Hayek laughed. “It was so embarrassing. She was so fit, she was so focused, she was so disciplined, she was so capable, she was so gracious. And I just looked at this woman and I thought to myself, ‘That’s who I wanna be when I grow up’.”
Pinkett Smith ended up not getting the Trinity role either, but was so well-liked by directors Lana and Lilly Wachowski that they invited her to play a different character, Niobe, in the film’s three sequels.
The actor will reprise her Niobe role in the forthcoming The Matrix Resurrections.
While the film’s plot remains under wraps, a Twitter user has claimed to have seen a test screening of the sequel, which they dubbed “meta, engrossing, surprisingly funny, and ambitious to a fault”.
The film will be released on 22 December.