Keanu Reeves Wasn’t the First Choice For Neo in ‘The Matrix’

The Large Image

  • The Matrix
    has a wealthy mythology and tackles weighty themes, making it an influential science fiction movie with a major affect on popular culture.
  • Brad Pitt turned down the function of Neo, nevertheless it did not negatively affect his profession as he appeared in one other basic,
    Battle Membership
    , and he has had success within the science fiction style with
    12 Monkeys
  • Will Smith additionally handed on the function of Neo, later admitting he would have ruined it, however praised the Wachowski sisters as geniuses. His alternative of sci-fi tasks after
    The Matrix
    did not end up as nicely.

The Matrix is among the many most influential science fiction movies of all-time, and considerably impacted the popular culture panorama upon its debut in 1999; for a quick second, the age-old debate about “Star Wars versus Star Trek” was put aside, as The Matrix clearly had a mythology that was simply as wealthy. Because the sequence continued, the movies grew progressively extra advanced, constructing out the whole historical past of humanity’s fall, and the way a synthetic intelligence may feasibly enslave the human race by simulating actuality; the sequence has additionally been analyzed for its commentary on gender identification, consumerism, and capitalism. Whereas these are all weighty themes to cope with in an motion franchise, the sequence has remained endearing to audiences because of the charisma of Keanu Reeves in his efficiency as Neo. Nevertheless, Reeves wasn’t initially the primary option to play the function that might turn into his most well-known.

The Matrix

When a gorgeous stranger leads laptop hacker Neo to a forbidding underworld, he discovers the stunning truth–the life he is aware of is the frilly deception of an evil cyber-intelligence.

Launch Date
March 30, 1999

136 minutes

Brad Pitt Starred in ‘Battle Membership’ As a substitute of ‘The Matrix’

Brad Pitt had been making consistently interesting career choices all through the early Nineteen Nineties, selecting to work with auteur filmmakers on excessive idea tasks. Pitt starred in his justifiable share of common status titles, comparable to Sleepers, A River Runs By way of It, Legends of the Fall, and Seven Years In Tibet, however he additionally took an opportunity on edgy movies that pushed the boundaries of the medium. Whereas Se7en and Interview With The Vampire could have labored out for him higher than Meet Joe Black or Cool World, Pitt realized that selecting to take possibilities was well worth the danger; he even earned his first Academy Award nomination for Greatest Supporting Actor for his efficiency in Terry Gilliam’s bonkers time journey thriller 12 Monkeys in 1995.

Regardless of his willingness to step out of his consolation zone, Pitt ended up turning down the function that might finally go to Reeves. In an interview with USA Today, Pitt acknowledged that he “took the pink tablet.” He was somewhat indirect in his justification, however mentioned “it was another person’s they usually go and make it,” and that he actually did ”imagine in that.” Pitt teased that The Matrix wasn’t the one cinematic masterpiece that he had been supplied the prospect to star in; he teased that “if we have been doing a present on the good films I’ve handed on, we would want two nights.”


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In all equity to Pitt, not starring in The Matrix didn’t appear to negatively affect his profession in a significant approach, as he additionally appeared in one other basic the identical 12 months that the Wachowski sisters science fiction movie was launched. Much like The Matrix, David Fincher’s Fight Club has turn into a cultural touchstone and important piece of contemporary cinema. Like The Matrix, Battle Membership was ready to make use of Pitt’s star energy to get audiences eager about extra advanced cultural commentary concerning the damaging nature of consumerism, the cult of violent conduct, and the ramifications of poisonous masculinity.

Pitt additionally hasn’t been absent from the science fiction style; after starring within the surprisingly pleasing zombie thriller World War Z in 2013, Pitt appeared in one of many best science fiction movies of the 21st century in 2019 with Ad Astra. Like The Matrix, Advert Astra takes a number of viewings to completely comprehend, however the eye-popping visuals make it a journey value taking. Pitt realized a lesson from Reeves and confirmed a softer facet to masculinity together with his efficiency as a grieving, lonely astronaut who travels throughout the photo voltaic system in hopes of fixing his relationship together with his father (Tommy Lee Jones).

Will Smith’s Profession Rebounded After Turning Down the Position of Neo

Pitt wasn’t the one excessive profile star who handed on the function of Neo. Will Smith was thought of for the function, as he was already coming off the widespread success of two of probably the most quintessential science fiction movies of the Nineteen Nineties with Independence Day and Males in Black. Regardless of his familiarity with the style, Smith revealed to Entertainment Weekly that he “most likely would have messed The Matrix up,” admitting that he “would have ruined it.” Nevertheless, Smith didn’t mince phrases in his reward of the Wachowski sisters, as he acknowledged that “it seems they’re geniuses.” He additionally revealed for the primary time that the Wachowskis had thought of Val Kilmer for the role of Morpheus that might finally go to Laurence Fishburne.

In contrast to Pitt, Smith’s alternative of tasks to pursue in 1999 didn’t end up in addition to Battle Membership had for Pitt. Smith ended up reteaming together with his Males in Black director Barry Sonnenfield for the Western adventure comedy Wild Wild West, which ranks among the many largest studio disasters of that decade. Whereas The Matrix and Battle Membership made an affect due to their boldness and originality, Wild Wild West introduced out drained archetypes inside the Western style and didn’t do something to scratch the floor of the unique Nineteen Sixties sequence that it was based mostly on. To Smith’s credit score, he admitted that he “wasn’t proud” of the selection, and was capable of rebound shortly thereafter due to his Academy Award-nominated efficiency in Michael Mann’s sports activities biopic Ali.

Smith has ceaselessly returned to science fiction movies, however none have turn into cultural landmarks in the identical approach that The Matrix had. I Am Legend and I, Robotic are each entertaining movies, however administrators Francis Lawrence and Alex Proyas didn’t have the identical ambition because the Wachowskis. They’re crowd pleasers, and whereas there’s nothing incorrect with that, The Matrix would have given Smith the prospect to star in a movie that’s nonetheless celebrated and analyzed at this time. He hasn’t all the time proven one of the best judgment in what constitutes a terrific piece of science fiction; After Earth and Brilliant are definitely bold, however fall flat on their faces.

Nevertheless, the truth that each Pitt and Smith handed on the function led Reeves to kickstart his profession and opened up new alternatives for him. Reeves had already been an established action star due to Pace and Level Break, however The Matrix concerned a good higher quantity of kung fu and gunplay that might come in useful years later when he took on the function of John Wick. Reeves captured the essence of Neo; he’s a mean joe whose religion in himself finally ends up benefiting a bigger group than he may have ever imagined.

The Matrix is offered to stream on Max within the U.S.

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