Will Smith Rejected Playing Neo In The Matrix To Star In His Career’s Worst Movie

Will Smith Rejected Playing Neo In The Matrix To Star In His Career's Worst Movie
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We all make mistakes, that is what makes us human. But when it comes to stars like Will Smith, their mistakes can be way more daunting for their career and can change the entire trajectory of their lives. Actors do make mistakes often, but the worst of the worst mistakes is when they reject a role that later turns out to be a massive success.

Will Smith
Will Smith

For Will Smith, he regrets turning down Neo in The Matrix and starring in one of the biggest flops of his career, Wild Wild West. While he is full of remorse, the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air also expressed that had he not rejected the movie, he would have ended up ruining it.

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Will Smith Rejected The Matrix To Star In Wild Wild West

Will Smith's Wild Wild West is a super flop
Will Smith’s Wild Wild West is a super flop

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Will Smith is known for many memorable roles throughout his career. While there have been a few misses here and there, Smith was once the reigning champion of the box office. His success was attributed to his acting prowess and versatility to seamlessly portray roles across different genres.

However, even a famous actor like Will Smith can make mistakes, and one of his biggest regrets is rejecting the Keanu Reeves starrer The Matrix. The Bad Boys star was offered the role of Neo, aka the lead role, but rejected the role to rather star in one of the biggest bombs of Hollywood, Wild Wild West.


In an interview, when asked if he could turn back time to advise his younger self on a movie set, Smith stated,

“Yeah, probably Wild Wild West. I’d go back to the Wild Wild West and I would say, ‘Asshole, why didn’t you do The Matrix?’”

Thinking that he was an undefeated champion of the box office, Smith ended up starring in Wild Wild West. But now it is one of the biggest regrets of his career.

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Why Will Smith Rejected The Matrix

The Matrix is a blockbuster franchise
The Matrix is a blockbuster franchise

Will Smith was riding high on the tide of success after delivering instant hits after hit at the box office. In a YouTube video, published on his channel, Smith stated,

“That was a crazy time in my life. It was like however I threw the ball, it was going in.”

So why would he reject the role of Neo? The reason was the way The Wachowski’s pitched the idea of the movie,

“The Wachowskis, they came in and they made a pitch for The Matrix. And as it turns out, they are geniuses. But there is a fine life in a pitch meeting between genius and what I experienced in the meeting.’Dude, we thinking like imagine you are in a fight and then you jump. Imagine you could stop jumping in the middle of the jump. But then people could see around you, 360 while you’re jumping.'”

As the makers went on with their ‘crazy’ pitching, he was convinced he would not be starring in the movie. While he states he is not proud of Wild Wild West, Smith thinks he did everyone a favor by not starring in The Matrix as he would have probably ruined the movie for good.


Wild Wild West can be streamed on Amazon Prime and The Matrix can be streamed on Max.

Source: YouTube and CinemaBlend


Written by Maria Sultan

Articles Published: 1442

Maria Sultan is a News Content Writer at FandomWire. Having honed her skills are a Freelance and Professional content writer for more than 5 years (and counting), her expertise spans various genres and content type. A Political Science and History Graduate, her deep interest in the world around shapes her writing, blending her insights across diverse themes.

Outside the realm of writing, Maria can be often found buried in the world of books or pursuing art or engaged in fervent discussions about anything or everything, her passions balanced by binge watching Kdramas, Anime, Movies or Series during leisure hours.