Why Will Smith Turned Down 'The Matrix'

Credit: Film Link
"I don't want to be the alien movie guy..."

Hollywood is full of rumors about who was almost who in different movies. Burt Reynolds was almost Indiana Jones. Emma Watson was the original choice for La La Land, and Will Smith was almost Neo in The Matrix. While most of these legends go unexplained, Will Smith recently went on the record to clear up why he chose to sit The Matrix out. 

Watch and learn. 

What I love about this video is how honest Smith is with his process. He was trying to become a movie star and almost blanked on a few franchises. Heck, it took a call from Steven Spielberg to get him in Men In Black. By the time The Matrix rolled around, he was making moves. And Probably thought Wild Wild West was a surefire hit. It was not. 

Listen to Smith explain it.  

“After we made Men in Black, [The Matrix directors] the Wachowskis, they came in and it was like they only did one movie – I think it was called Bound – and they came in and they did a pitch for The Matrix....As it turns out, they’re geniuses, but there’s a fine line in a pitch meeting between genius and what I experienced in the meeting...Dude, we’re thinking like, imagine you’re in a fight, and then you, like, jump,'” Smith says. “‘Imagine if you could stop jumping in the middle of the jump. But then people could see around you 360 while you’re jumping, while you’ve stopped jumping. And then, we’re gonna invent these cameras, and then people can see the whole jump while you’re stopping in the middle of the jump." 

I can't blame Smith for passing on the project if that was the pitch. As you can see, pitching is an extremely important part of the process. It's what convinces stars to do the project. and if you don't have Speilberg producing to back you up, you better get good in a room and fast. 

Lucky for you, we have a step-by-step breakdown of how to pitch your movie. 

So get practicing. You never know when you'll need to convince Will Smith to be in your next movie. 

Would you have liked to see Smith in The Matrix?

What about Val Kilmer as Morpheus? 

I tend to believe we got the best version of the first movie possible. 

Let us know in the comments!      

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Your Comment


Glad he turned it down. I love Will Smith but I'm having trouble seeing him in that role

February 15, 2019 at 5:47AM

Lex de Groot

I have read some articles about his approach as a young actor and his desire, methodology and game plan to become an A-lister and make successful (profitable) movies .... studying what made films successful, what audiences responded to and the like .... no doubt he might have made some mis-steps ...but the end result speaks for itself

February 15, 2019 at 1:21PM


"What happened, happened and couldn't have happened any other way".

February 15, 2019 at 1:48PM

Sky Nite
Writer / Developer / Director