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Jet Li Rejected $1.79B Keanu Reeves Franchise, Thought Americans Would Copyright His Martial Art: “Been training my whole life. I couldn’t do that”

Jet Li Rejected $1.79B Keanu Reeves Franchise, Thought Americans Would Copyright His Martial Art: "Been training my whole life. I couldn't do that"

Martial arts star Jet-Li is popularly known for his involvement in Hollywood films like Lethal Weapon, The Forbidden Kingdom, and The Expendables. Li whose forte is action is famous for doing his stunts and has regaled audiences with his skills and prowess in action. The star was initially an integral part of The Matrix sequels and was considered the perfect choice to play the role of Seraph, The Oracle’s trained bodyguard. Despite committing to the role and working on the filming for a considerable amount of time, Jet-Li ultimately let go of the film.

Martial arts star Jet-Li

Also, Read: Andrew Tate Release Has a Huge Connection to Keanu Reeves’ $465 Million Movie ‘The Matrix’

Jet-Li Had An Issue With His Role In The Matrix Sequel

Directors of The Matrix the Wachowski siblings brought Jet-Li on board to play the role of Seraph for the sequel. But the actor who was fully involved in the film’s production for almost a year abruptly ended his association with the movie after learning that the production team wanted to digitize his moves. Li had spent years perfecting his martial arts. and The Matrix would have been his golden chance to showcase his talent.

Jet -Li in The Expendables
Jet-Li in The Expendables

However, the actor said that the production would then need him to spend nine months with the crew, with six of those months involving the digital crew recording his moves and copying them. This would then mean that the rights to these action moves would go to the production house, which posed a conflict of interest for Jet-Li. The actor spoke of his trepidation and said,

“I’ve been training my whole life- Yet they could own my moves as an intellectual property forever. So, I couldn’t do that”

The actor added that he was worried about technology taking over and US filmmakers using their technology to paste any actor’s face onto his moving body and this did not sit well with him.

Also Read: “I realized it hadn’t been since The Matrix”: Quentin Tarantino Compared Christopher Nolan’s $774M Blockbuster With Keanu Reeves’ Sci-Fi Classic After Giving Up on the Genre

Colin Chou replaced Jet-Li In The Matrix Sequel

After Jet-Li stepped down from a prominent role in The Matrix, the role of Seraph was then taken up by fellow martial artist Collin Chou for the sequels. Chou went on to gain a lot of fame for his presence in the 3 sequels and became a household name for his role as Seraph.

Colin Chou
Colin Chou played Seraph in The Matrix sequels

Interestingly, Chou and Li ended up working together in 2006 on the film Fearless. Li subsequently stepped away from the limelight, occasionally appearing in franchises such as The Expendables. The actor in recently times worked in the Disney remake of Mulan, where he played the Emperor of China. Post this film, the martial arts star has mostly remained under the radar and is yet to sign up for prominent Hollywood projects.

Also Read: How Much Salary Did Keanu Reeves Earn From John Wick 4 After Gargantuan $200M Earnings from The Matrix?

Source: Cheat Sheet



Written by Sharanya Sankar

Sharanya is a mom, bookworm, and cinephile. Having completed her Masters degree in Journalism and Mass Communication, writing is one of her passions. When she is not running behind her 11 and 9 year old, she spends her time watching and blogging about movies. She enjoys a range of genres from Indian mass entertainers to Hollywood and world cinema. Her interests also include analyzing pop culture in movies and music.