Will Smith Explains Why He Turned Down The Role Of Neo In “The Matrix”

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Will Smith’s taken on some iconic roles throughout his extensive career. However, he’s revealed that he’s turned down a few massive roles in his time as well. Will Smith’s latest upload to YouTube is a story of why he turned down a role in The Matrix.

Smith could’ve been Neo in The Matrix but the actor explained that he turned down the role in the middle of a highly productive run in the mid-90s. Men In Black and Independence Day came out in 1996 but it took a bit of convincing from Steven Spielburg to get Will Smith on board for MIB since Smith had a fear of turning into “the alien movie guy.” However, he was later approached by The Wachowskis to consider starring in The Matrix which he ultimately turned down. Not only because of becoming “the alien movie guy,” but because he was confused by the pitch. He later tried to impersonate The Wachowskis in a pitch meeting. 

“I didn’t get it when I read it. It’s a hard movie to pitch. You know: ‘Everybody lives inside a computer.’ It was only when I saw it that I really got it,” he explained in an interview with The Sun in 2005.

Despite turning down the film, Smith said it was for the greater good of the film. He said that Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne nailed their roles.

“If I had done it because I’m black, then Morpheus wouldn’t have been black cause they were looking at Val Kilmer. So, I probably would have messed The Matrix up. I would’ve ruined it. I did y’all a favor,” he concluded.

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