Watch Will Smith's Video Explaining Why He Turned Down The Matrix
In another universe, Will Smith would have played Neo in The Matrix, but guess what? He turned down the role. Before you jump to conclusions, you'll want to watch Smith's hilarious video explaining the whole thing. "This is one of those stories I'm not proud of, but it's the truth. I did turn down Neo in The Matrix," he said in a new video uploaded to his YouTube channel. Smith explained there were several factors going into the decision, including the fact that the mid-to-late '90s were a very busy time for Smith, what with The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and all. But the main reason is a pretty funny one: Smith thought the pitch was boring.
In all fairness, the way he recounts the pitch meeting with the Wachowskis, the writers and directors of The Matrix, makes it sound confusing and uninteresting because the concept was so hard to explain. "As it turns out, they're geniuses," Smith said. Duh. "So I made Wild Wild West! I'm not proud of it," he added.
The actor revealed another secret: he also had previously turned down Men in Black because he "didn't want to be the alien guy" after already doing Independence Day (1996). Steven Spielberg then called him — casual — and said, "Do me a favor. Don't use your brain for this one. Use mine." At least that one worked out. Of course, Smith admits that Keanu Reeves was perfect as Neo, and joked that he himself "probably would've messed The Matrix. So I did y'all a favor." A recent role that Smith did not turn down, however, is Genie in Aladdin.
You learn something new every day. Do yourself a favor and watch the whole video ahead to hear Smith's side of the story.