Brad Pitt revealed which role he passed on at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival

By Ale Russian and Scott Huver
January 23, 2020 10:18 AM
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Brad Pitt almost took Keanu Reeves‘ most famous role.

The actor, who is up for Best Supporting Actor at the 2020 Oscars for last year’s Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood, recently revealed he passed on the 1999 movie The Matrix.

The actor, 56, shared the tidbit during a talk at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, where he received the Maltin Modern Master Award.

“I’ll give you one, only one, because I really believe it was never mine,” Pitt said after initially refusing to share any roles he’d passed on. “It’s not mine. It’s someone else’s and they go and make it. I really do believe in that. I really do. But I did pass on the Matrix. I took the red pill.”

Will Smith also famously passed on starring in the mega-blockbuster in favor of Wild Wild West, which flopped with critics and the at box office.

Brad Pitt
| Credit: Michael Tran/Getty Images

The actor, who can currently be seen in Bad Boys for Life, revealed his regret at passing on the role in a video posted to his YouTube page.

“I’d go back to the Wild Wild West [set] and I would say, ‘A–hole, why didn’t you do The Matrix?” Smith joked when asked what he would tell his younger self.

Other stars like Nicolas Cage, Val Kilmer, and Johnny Depp were also reportedly considered to play Neo, but the role, of course, went to Reeves. The movie redefined Reeves’ career, winning numerous awards and inspiring a hit franchise, with a fourth installment currently shooting.

The Matrix
| Credit: Melinda Sue Gordon/Warner Bros/Village Roadshow/Kobal/Shutterstock

Reeves told Entertainment Tonight last year that he’s “absolutely” excited about returning to the role that made him a household name. And although he kept quiet about the plot of the upcoming fourth installment in the movie franchise, Reeves did give one small hint.

“It’s very ambitious,” Reeves said. “As it should be!”

Reeves will once again star as Neo in the recently-announced Matrix 4 alongside Carrie-Anne Moss, which will reunite the two stars with writer and director Lana Wachowski, who was also behind the first three movies along with sister Lily Wachowski.