Will Smith famously passed on starring in 1999’s mega-blockbuster The Matrix in favor of Wild Wild West

By Rachel Yang
October 07, 2019 10:23 AM

 

Will Smith has some tough but fair advice for his younger self.

The actor, who plays both a younger and older version of the same character in his new movie Gemini Man, revealed those wise words when Fox Chicago reporter Jake Hamilton asked him a two-part question at the film’s premiere: What movie set from his past would he like to revisit, and what would he tell his former self.

“I’d go back to the Wild Wild West [set] and I would say, ‘Asshole, why didn’t you do The Matrix?” Smith joked.

Smith famously passed on starring in 1999’s mega-blockbuster The Matrix in favor of Wild Wild West, which flopped with critics and the at box office. Stars like Nicolas Cage, Brad Pitt, Val Kilmer, and Johnny Depp were also reportedly considered to play Neo, but the role, of course, went to Keanu Reeves. The movie redefined Reeves’ career, winning numerous awards and inspiring a hit franchise, with a fourth installment currently in development.

Smith discussed his decision to pass on The Matrix earlier this year, explaining on his YouTube channel that he was less than impressed after meeting with the Wachowski siblings, the filmmakers behind the film. Smith added that it’s all for the best, complimenting Matrix stars Reeves and Laurence Fishburne’s performances.

“So I probably would have messed The Matrix up. I would have ruined it, so I did y’all a favor,” Smith joked at the time. Plus, with Smith’s achievements and box office hits, he’s doing just fine without The Matrix under his belt.

Gemini Man hits theaters Oct. 11.

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