Will Smith reveals why he didn’t play Neo in 'The Matrix'

Sam Ashurst
Will Smith could have been Neo (credit: Warner Brothers)
Will Smith could have been Neo (credit: Warner Brothers)

It might seem hard to imagine now (especially with so many people currently mocking him over his Aladdin look on social media) but Will Smith was once king of the blockbuster.

He starred in some of the most iconic sci-fi films of the ‘90s; Independence Day, Men In Black and – almost – The Matrix. He didn’t end up doing that last one, turning the film down to make Wild Wild West. Now, via a YouTube video on his own channel, Smith’s finally explained why he turned down the role of a lifetime.

“After we made Men in Black, [The Matrix directors] the Wachowskis, they came in and it was like they only did one movie – I think it was called Bound – and they came in and they did a pitch for The Matrix.

“As it turns out, they’re geniuses, but there’s a fine line in a pitch meeting between genius and what I experienced in the meeting,” Smith says in the video.

“‘Dude, we’re thinking like, imagine you’re in a fight, and then you, like, jump,'” Smith says. “‘Imagine if you could stop jumping in the middle of the jump. But then people could see around you 360 while you’re jumping, while you’ve stopped jumping.

“‘And then, we’re gonna invent these cameras, and then people can see the whole jump while you’re stopping in the middle of the jump’,” the actor continues, before joking: “So I made Wild Wild West.”

Neo meets The Architect in The Matrix Reloaded (credit: Warner Brothers)
Neo meets The Architect in The Matrix Reloaded (credit: Warner Brothers)

Still, as much as we love Smith, if it wasn’t for The Matrix we might not have John Wick – the series was a turning point in Keanu Reeves’ career, transforming the actor into the kick-ass kung fu hero we still know and love today.

Meanwhile, Smith has taken the blue pill to play… Aladdin. Sorry Will.

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