It might be hard to imagine anyone else as Neo in The Matrix aside from Keanu Reeves, but there was actually a time that the Wachowski Brothers considered Hollywood A-lister Will Smith as The One.
Turns out, passing up the role has become one of Smith’s biggest professional regrets. Speaking in an interview with Cinema Blend while walking the red carpet for his latest action movie, Gemini Man, Smith was asked by ReelBlend co-host Jake Hamilton what kind of advice he would give his younger self if he had the ability to go back in time.
According to the Suicide Squad star, he would go back to the set of the movie Wild Wild West and scold his younger self for passing up on The Matrix.
“Yeah, probably Wild Wild West. I’d go back to the Wild Wild West and I would say, ‘Asshole, why didn’t you do The Matrix?’” the actor revealed.
Back in the 90’s Smith was considered one of the greats of Summer Blockbusters. He had quite a number of major action movie hits like Independence Day and Men in Black. There was Enemy of the State.
The Wachowski brothers wanted Smith’s charisma and charm for their The Matrix trilogy, however, the filmmakers failed to properly explain the story they had for the trilogy during their pitch. Because he didn’t quite understand, Smith decided to turn the filmmakers down. The Wachowski brothers moved on to Keanu Reeves instead, and the actor took to the role like a fish in the water. Now it’s hard to imagine Neo being anyone else.
Would you have wanted to see Will Smith as Neo? Or do you think to cast the actor as The One would have to change the tone of the character? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.
Meanwhile, you can catch Smith in Gemini Man that is being shown in cinemas.