Will Smith is a renowned actor and he has been in several influential movies. When The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air first aired in 1990, he launched his acting career. He portrayed a hilarious version of himself on the show. But what shocked a lot of people was when he turned down a part in a $465 million movie. The movie instead starred Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne. And through a video, he gave reasons for why he believed not accepting it was a wise decision.
Will Smith thinks that by declining the legendary role, he has done the world a favor
In a 2019 video posted to his YouTube account, Will Smith discussed a significant choice he made in the past. The decision to decline to play Neo in the beloved movie The Matrix. Smith felt he couldn’t possibly choose poorly at the time because he was on cloud nine from the success of Independence Day and other projects. He met with The Wachowskis, who had only made one movie prior to The Matrix, while they were still relatively unknown. Smith made light of their pitch, particularly the scene when they depicted Neo pausing in mid-air as the cameras circled around him.
Smith opted to star in Wild Wild West, a 1999 western movie that didn’t get good reviews, rather than take on the role of Neo. Smith did not seem to be unhappy with his decision in the YouTube video, though. If he had been chosen to play Neo, he thinks The Matrix wouldn’t have been the same film.
Smith complimented Keanu Reeves, and Laurence Fishburne, who played the role of Neo and Morpheus. He further claimed that the duo were ideal for the parts. Smith also admitted that Val Kilmer, if he had been Neo, would have played Morpheus. He concluded the video on his channel, which is named Will Smith, with a humorous, “So I probably would have messed ‘The Matrix’ up. I would have ruined it, so I did y’all a favor.” It’s kind of true because we can’t now picture anyone else playing the iconic role of Neo apart from Keanu Reeves.
Val Kilmer regretted passing on the part in the movie The Matrix
When it came to casting the iconic role of Neo in The Matrix, many big-name actors were approached. But surprisingly, some of them, like Will Smith, declined the part. Among those who turned down the opportunity to play Neo were Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, adding to the list of missed opportunities. Val Kilmer, though, is one actor who regrets missing out on this ground-breaking movie specifically. The producers of The Matrix were eager to have Kilmer on board, willing to cast him in any suitable role. Kilmer, however, quickly turned down the role of Neo, and he even refused the Wachowski brothers’ offer to cast him as Morpheus.
Unfortunately, Val Kilmer’s career suffered as a result of his decision not to appear in The Matrix. He found it difficult to land important roles in the industry. Due to this rejection of his, Kilmer’s reputation as a celebrity who was famously difficult to work with. Finally, Keanu Reeves took the role of Neo, and he brought the character to life.