Brad Pitt has confirmed he turned down an offer to star in The Matrix.
The Once Upon a Time in Hollywood actor was asked about the roles he had passed on during a talk at the recent Santa Barbara International Film Festival, and he confirmed that he rejected an offer to portray Neo, who was ultimately played by Keanu Reeves, in the 1999 sci-fi movie.
“I did pass on The Matrix. I took the red pill. That’s the only one I’m naming,” he said. “I wasn’t offered two or three. Only the first one, just to clarify that.”
The red pill comment is a reference to the movie. In the film, choosing the red pill means being aware of the cruel truths of everyday life, while taking the blue pill is opting to remain living in blissful ignorance.
The Oscar-nominated actor, who received the Maltin Modern Master Award at the festival, also explained why he was reluctant to name any of the projects he’d rejected.
“I come from a place, maybe it’s my upbringing, if I didn’t get it, then it wasn’t mine,” the 56-year-old commented. “I really believe (the role) was never mine. It’s not mine. It was someone else’s and they go and make it. I really do believe in that… If we were doing a show on the great movies I’ve passed on, we would need two nights.”
Last year, The Matrix producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura said Pitt was considered for Neo, while Will Smith expressed his regret about passing on the part in a YouTube video last February.
“Keanu was perfect, Laurence Fishburne was perfect,” he insisted. “So, I probably would have messed The Matrix up. I would have ruined it, so I did y’all a favour.”
Other stars like Nicolas Cage, Val Kilmer, and Johnny Depp were also reportedly considered to play Neo, but it ultimately went to Reeves. The Matrix trilogy redefined his career and he is currently shooting the fourth instalment.
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