The 90s were marked by several blockbusters and the reign of superstars like Brad Pitt, Will Smith, and Tom Cruise. Will had an amazing run during the latter part of the 90s. It was almost like whatever he touched turned gold. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was riding high on the success of his previous films. He probably thought he could never go wrong with his choices until his luck ran dry and he made one of the biggest mistakes of his career.
Although he led many blockbuster films, the actor did miss out on some real gems in his otherwise stellar career. Apart from Django Unchained, the Men in Black actor also famously turned down The Matrix.
Will Smith famously rejected The Matrix because of Wachowski’s bewildering narration
Back in 1998, Smith was an A-lister that almost all studios wanted to cast. And the Wachowskis were relatively unknown then. They had only done one obscure film; next, they wanted to create this mind-bending sci-fi movie starring Will Smith. So they approached him and pitched him the movie, but their narration was a little incoherent for the actor to understand the plot, so he passed on it.
In a video uploaded in 2019, the actor called the Wachowskis “geniuses,” but had no way of knowing that in 1998. Will acted out the actual pitch: “Like imagine you are in a fight and then like jump but imagine if you could stop jumping in the middle of the jump. But then people could see you 360° while you are jumping.”
Furthermore, the pitch also included some cameras that would allow him to see him jump. Well, we aren’t surprised that the 54-year-old couldn’t make sense of the plot. The Matrix would go on to become a smash hit at the box office that year.
The movie has achieved a kind of cult classic status now and has set a bar for mind-bending sci-fi movies. But, one’s loss is another’s gain. When Will turned down the movie, it landed in Keanu Reeves’ lap.
Do you think Will would have made a better Neo?