Will Smith's Biggest Regret? Turning Down Main Role in $60 Million Movie That Made History

Will Smith's Biggest Regret? Turning Down Main Role in $60 Million Movie That Made History
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You could say he chose the wrong pill...

In 1999, The Matrix became a real breakthrough, setting new standards in the field of special effects and making a real star of 35-year-old Keanu Reeves.

However, before him, other actors were invited to the role of Neo, among whom there was an not-so-obvious choice — Will Smith.

The actor himself explained how he turned down the role in the movie, which eventually became a cult classic, in a video on YouTube.

Will Smith told how his communication with the Wachowskis took place at the time when they were looking for a leading actor for The Matrix.

First of all, the actor noted that he was not proud of turning down the role of Neo. In the mid-90s, Smith wanted to break out of the cycle of alien movies that had been running through his career.

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In 1996 came out Independence Day, and in 1997 — Men in Black. The Wachowskis, who at that time only had the movie Bound behind them, turned to the actor.

According to Smith, although the Wachowskis later turned out to be geniuses, but their description of the character at that time did not sound very convincing.

"So, this is the actual pitch that they made for The Matrix... 'Dude, we're thinking, like, imagine you're in a fight, and then you jump! Imagine if you could stop jumping in the middle of the jump.

But then, people can see around you, 360, while you're jumping – while you're stop-jumping, right? And then, we're gonna invent these cameras, and then people can see the whole jump while you stop in the middle of the jump," Will said in the video.

Smith said that the final casting of the movie was perfect. He noted that if he agreed to the role of Neo, he would "break" the "Matrix" because Val Kilmer would then take the role of Morpheus.

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The role of Neo was also offered to such actors as Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio, but the fans are glad that the choice eventually fell on Keanu Reeves, who became the ideal embodiment of Neo.