The Matrix Resurrections Star Keanu Reeves Thanks Will Smith for Turning Down The Role

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The Matrix Resurrections star Keanu Reeves is thankful that Will Smith turned down the role of Neo in the original The Matrix movie.

Recently, as part of his run to promote his fourth outing as Neo in The Matrix Resurrections, the 57-year-old actor talked to Esquire about his career and the unique circumstances that landed him the iconic role. During the interview, Reeves was asked how he feels about Will Smith turning down the lead in The Matrix before he was offered the role.

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Of course, Reeves was thankful that he was able to star in the film, which he said changed his life. "It was such a wonderful creative experience and so to play Neo in the trilogy and now in the fourth -- it impacted my life personally and creatively," he said. Reeves then looked to the camera, seemingly to address Will Smith, saying, "Thank you very much."

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In 1998, the Wachowski siblings pitched The Matrix to Smith, who was one of the most popular young actors in Hollywood at that time, but the actor turned down the project, opting instead to star in Wild, Wild West. However, The Matrix turned out to be one of the biggest films released in 1999, and Wild, Wild West received with mixed reviews, and Smith considers it to be one of his worst films ever. With Smith out, the role of Neo instead went to Reeves, taking his career to another level, setting him up for future iconic roles like the titular protagonist of the John Wick franchise.

Related: The Matrix Resurrections Japanese Teaser Reveals Shocking Trinity Footage

The Matrix Resurrections is set to release in theaters and HBO Max on December 22. For more information about this movie, check out everything we know about The Matrix Resurrections so far.