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If Will Smith Played Neo In The Matrix Everything Would Be Totally Different

Peter Fraser

| Last updated 

If Will Smith Played Neo In The Matrix Everything Would Be Totally Different

The Matrix is one of the best films of the 20th century. The kung fu, the green ambience and the shiny PVC cat suit that Trinity wears and make it an iconic movie. The film is stylistically shot - it has a great concept and some chilling one-liners. It's also pretty sexy.

When you finally find out what the Matrix actually is, and learn that we all live in a virtual reality made by machines, it's absolutely terrifying. I can't be the only one who thought that it might be true...and looked around suspiciously.

It's the film role that Keanu Reeves is best known for, well, ok apart from Ted in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. His under-acting finally pays off. There really is one Neo.

But it could have all been so different. Will Smith was offered the role first.


Amazingly, he turned it down to star in Wild Wild West - if you remember, the film has respected Shakespearean actor Kenneth Branagh play a man with metal spider legs. For some reason, Harvey Keitel is also in the movie, usually dressed up as a woman for espionage purposes. Will Smith hits on him at one point. It is bad.

Will Smith chose that awful film over The Matrix - one of the scariest and most iconic films of all time.

Thanks to one YouTuber, however, we can get a glimpse of what the film would be like if Will Smith was actually in The Matrix...and it's pretty cool. But he's still no Keanu Reeves.

A YouTube user, under the name of The Unusual Suspect, has expertly spliced clips from the 1999 film with footage of Will doing his thing.


Will Smith has had a pretty amazing film career after The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, which remains one of the best TV shows of all time, but that doesn't mean that he hasn't made some bad choices. The Matrix is not the only film role that Smith has turned down - he reportedly snubbed the chance to be in a Quentin Tarantino film because he wouldn't be the lead. The role was Django in Django Unchained - the film in which Jamie Foxx gets revenge upon his slave masters.

He also turned down the role of Superman in 2006 - to be fair that was a terrible film so he probably dodged a bullet there. But how cool would it have been to have a black Superman? But Smith said: "You mess up white people's heroes in Hollywood, you'll never work in this town again."


But he turned down The Matrix because he didn't get the plot.

He told Wired magazine: "You know, The Matrix is a difficult concept to pitch. In the pitch, I just didn't see it. I watched Keanu's performance - and very rarely do I say this - but I would have messed it up. I would have absolutely messed up The Matrix.

"At that point I wasn't smart enough as an actor to let the movie be. Whereas Keanu was smart enough to just let it be. Let the movie and the director tell the story, and don't try and perform every moment."


Sounds like you're saying that Keanu Reeves can't act, Smith.

Although it would have been cool to see Smith play the role, there really is one Neo. And I can't imagine anyone else flying round the Matrix quite like Keanu.

Words: Laura Hamilton

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: The Matrix, Will Smith

Peter Fraser
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