The 54-year-old actress spoke about competing for the part that eventually went to Carrie-Anne Moss on Jada Pinkett Smith’s Red Table Talk series. One of the other finalists for the role was Pinkett Smith herself.
“We were one of the four finalists for The Matrix,” Hayek explained. “We’d jumped through many hurdles, screen testing, and many auditions. They brought these stunt coordinators from Asia. It was the physical test. I’m flexible and agile, but I’m lazy. I never really went to the gym. They said, ‘You have to run!’ I go, ‘To where?’ I couldn’t even go around the room once.”
Hayek then spoke about how Pinkett Smith auditioned and blew her out of the water.
“In comes Jada. Mean, lean, sexy machine,” Hayek recalled. “Oh my god, she was so good! It was so embarrassing. She was so fit, she was so focused, she was so disciplined, she was so capable, she was so gracious. And I just looked at this woman and I thought to myself, ‘That’s who I wanna be when I grow up.’”
Jada later was written into the sequels as the character Niobe.
The Matrix was released in 1999 and earned $465 million worldwide. It was followed by two sequels in 2003, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions. A fourth film is scheduled for release on December 22, 2021.