Will Smith Shares the Story of Why He Turned Down 'The Matrix'

Smith said had he done The Matrix, the film would have featured Morpheus played by a white person.

It has always been rumored that Will Smith was the first choice over Keanu Reeves for Neo in The Matrix- a film, and franchise, that went on to set a new standard in the action/sci-fi genre.

In the video, Smith also spoke briefly about how he originally did not want to be in Men In Black, because he had just come off Independence Day and didn't want to be type-casted as "the alien movie guy". He describes the pitch being after he made Men in Black. Of course, Smith didn't need The Matrix. And as it turns out, they're geniuses!

Smith proceeded to reenact the pitch meeting, acting as the Wachowskis as he said, "So, dude, we're thinking like, imagine you're in a fight and then you, like, jump".

While he probably regrets turning the role in retrospect, he admits that the cast of the legendary film was ideal and that he doesn't know how good the movie would have been if he was in it.

While he added that he wishes he had given the role a shot, he stressed that Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne did amazingly in the film.

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"If I had done it because I'm black, then Morpheus wouldn't have been black 'cause they were looking at Val Kilmer".

"Keanu was flawless. Laurence Fishburne was ideal", he explained.

"I did turn down Neo in The Matrix", Will confessed in a video posted on his YouTube channel.

Instead of doing The Matrix, Smith made Wild Wild West, and well, Smith acknowledged that he's "not proud of it". It was a misstep that he, and everyone else, can trace back to The Matrix pitch meeting, in which the Wachowskis attempted to sell the biggest blockbuster star on their high concept movie. "I would have ruined it, so I did y'all a favor". "It leaves reality so far behind that its storytelling would be arbitrary even by comic-book standards, and its characters share no common ground or emotional connection".

Watch Smith's full animated explanation above.

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