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“I don’t want to be the alien movie guy”: Will Smith Refused the Matrix After Independence Day, Lost Out on Millions That Made Keanu Reeves Hollywood’s Heartthrob

“I don’t want to be the alien movie guy”: Will Smith Refused the Matrix After Independence Day, Lost Out on Millions That Made Keanu Reeves Hollywood’s Heartthrob

Will Smith is one of the finest actors, and way before he introduced himself to the Hollywood industry, he was already one of the best media personalities in the music industry. He acquired his name, fame, and huge wealth over the years by building up his reputation within the industry, most of which he lost over a heated interaction with Chris Rock at the Academy Awards when Smith slapped him on stage.

In the industry, many actors have rejected multiple scripts that later on turned out to be multi-billion-dollar franchises over the years. Will Smith was also one of them and his rejection of the Matrix franchise will be recorded as one of the biggest mistakes he made in his acting career.

Will Smith
Will Smith

Also read: “That moment was probably the end of how anybody will ever think of Will Smith”: Joe Rogan Believes Will Smith Has Done Irreparable Damage to His Hollywood Career With One Big Mistake

Will Smith Turned Down Neo From The Matrix

One of the most A-list actors, Will Smith rejected the role of Neo in The Matrix franchise as he thought the movie would be a waste of his time. He had previously faced a loss starring in a similar movie. Smith starred in Independence Day before receiving the script for The Matrix, and though the movie was very well received at the box office, Smith did not feel the need to indulge in more alien-technology-related projects.

“I had done ‘Independence Day’ the year before, so I was like, ‘Eh, I’m not doing another alien movie, I don’t want to be the alien movie guy’. It’s a hard movie to pitch. You know: ‘Everybody lives inside a computer.’ It was only when I saw it that I really got it. They came in and made 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.”

Reeves as Neo in The Matrix
Keanu Reeves as Neo in The Matrix

Also read: Matrix Movies Originally Wanted Everything Everywhere Star and Martial Arts Goddess Michelle Yeoh as This Character

Not only Will Smith, but multiple A-listers like Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Val Kilmer, and Nicolas Cage also rejected the role of Neo, thinking the movie was not going to make it big, or the script was too complicated for them. Will Smith instead of being Neo, went on to film Wild Wild West, which with an estimated budget of $170 million, collected over $222 million. Comparing Wild Wild West and The Matrix, it is easily judged that Will Smith chose the wrong movie to star in.

Keanu Reeves Thanked Will Smith For Rejecting The Role of Neo

While in an interview with Esquire, Keanu Reeves shared that he is forever thankful to Will Smith for rejecting the role of Neo from The Matrix. It is an undeniable fact that Keanu Reeves’ cast as “the one” was the turning point in his life as the movies were a major success, both at the box office and from the point of critic reviews. These movies formed a base for Reeves to stand on as he is currently one of the best actors in Hollywood. Keanu Reeves said,

“Well, it changed my life. And, it was such a wonderful creative experience, and so to play Neo in The Matrix trilogy and now in the fourth. It impacted my life, personally and creatively”

The Matrix Star, Keanu Reeves
The Matrix Star, Keanu Reeves

Also read: Keanu Reeves Wanted To Fight Cancer So Bad After It Took Sister Kim’s Life He Auctioned a Date With Himself to Raise $16K for Children’s Cancer Organization’s Camp Rainbow Gold

The four movies of the Matrix franchise grabbed a total of around $1.8 billion with a mere overall budget of $553 million. Moreover, the movies received a major fan following and critic reviews were off the chart as the movie’s concept was completely new at the time it was released. The viewers took it on a positive note and loved it. The movies also received many accolades including Academy Awards, the BAFTA Awards, the MTV Movie + TV Awards, and countless others.

The Matrix is available for streaming on HBO Max.

Source: The Things

Written by Rajdeep Majumder

Rajdeep Majumder is a maniac for cold coffee besides being an avid CoD enthusiast and a student of Computer Science. On top of a budding investment in music and pop culture, Rajdeep now has an accumulated interest in the world of film and television. As an aspiring content writer, he can now boast of more than 100 published articles on Fandomwire under his byline. Looking ahead, he can envision himself backpacking across Europe within 5 years’ time.