In a video uploaded to his official YouTube account, Will Smith hilariously explains why he regrettably turned down the role of Neo in The Matrix.
The stage is set: Smith was coming off of a high in the late-'90s after starring in blockbuster hits Independence Day and Men in Black. Despite his fears of becoming "the alien movie guy" Smith agreed to star in the latter film, after much convincing from Steven Spielburg. Thus, when Smith was approached by The Wachowskis and asked if he would consider starring in their film The Matrix, not only did Smith see his supernatural fears being realized, he also didn't understand the pitch.
During an interview with The Sun in the early-2000s, Smith explained his confusion. "I didn't get it when I read it. It's a hard movie to pitch. You know: 'Everybody lives inside a computer.' It was only when I saw it that I really got it." After walking away from the sci-fi thriller, Smith made another regretable decision when he agreed to star in Wild Wild West. As he recounts the decision, Smith scratches his face before admitting, "I'm not proud of it."
Smith's almost-role in The Matrix has been well-known for quite some time. His decision has inspired mashups in which bored movie lovers reimagine the film's trailer starring the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air instead of Reeves.
Despite his regret, Smith admits that Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne were perfect for the film. "If I had done it because I'm black, then Morpheus wouldn't have been black cause they were looking at Val Kilmer. So, I probably would have messed The Matrix up, I did y'all a favor," he concludes.
You can watch Smith's entire recap above.