Will Smith Could Have Played Neo In ‘The Matrix’
Did you know Will Smith was the top pick to play Neo in “The Matrix”?
He turned down the role to make “Wild Wild West,” so Keanu Reeves was given the part. Smith also admitted he felt the filmmakers were being “too ambitious” and “didn’t think they could do it.” He would change his mind, saying, “that’s probably the only one [part] that I turned down that I shouldn’t have.”
In an interview with Wired, The Fresh Prince was asked if he had any regrets. His response: “You know, The Matrix is a difficult concept to pitch. In the pitch, I just didn’t see it. I watched Keanu’s performance – and very rarely do I say this – but I would have messed it up. I would have absolutely messed up The Matrix. At that point I wasn’t smart enough as an actor to let the movie be. Whereas Keanu was smart enough to just let it be. Let the movie and the director tell the story, and don’t try and perform every moment.”
As it turns out, Smith passed up on one of the biggest summer blockbusters of all time to star in one of the all-time worst. The Matrix went on to become the fifth-highest grossing film of 1999 and win four Academy Awards; Wild Wild West, despite the highest film budget that year ($170 million!), only managed five Razzies!