Carie-Anne Moss, Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock

Turning down a major script is very common in Hollywood, especially with the A-list actors who receive top-tier stuff on the regular. This was especially true in the case of The Matrix, as several A-list actors said no to the project, including Will Smith. Among others, was Brad Pitt who really didn’t understand the script.

Looking back, Keanu Reeves is grateful that his peers said no, as the role changed his career and unlike the others, Keanu didn’t hesitate when he saw the script.

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In the following, we’ll take a look at the many actors that said no to The Matrix, including Sandra Bullock. Had she agreed, the film might’ve looked drastically different, with Bullock in the role of Neo.

We’ll also take a look at why Bullock said no, and which forgettable rom-com she opted for instead.

Several A-List Stars Turned Down The Matrix

Sandra Bullock shouldn’t feel too bad as she’s far from the only A-lister to turn down the iconic Matrix script. The list is quite staggering, including the likes of Will Smith, Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Val Kilmer and Nicolas Cage.

As for Will Smith, the actor went into detail as to why he turned down the role. Smith revealed he didn’t fully understand the script, while he didn’t want to work another ‘alien’ film.

“I had done ‘Independence Day’ the year before, so I was like, ‘Eh, I’m not doing another alien movie, I don’t want to be the alien movie guy’.”

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He continued, “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. They came in and made a pitch for ‘The Matrix’. As it turns out, they’re geniuses. But there’s a fine line in a pitch meeting between genius and what I experienced in the meeting.”

What turned out to be Will’s loss, was Keanu’s gain, as the actor got the role offer in a parking lot. He was told to start his prep four months before the shoot. Reeves didn’t hesitate once, knowing there was pure magic in the script.

The Matrix Offered Sandra Bullock The Role Of Neo, But She Turned It Down

Although it turned into a franchise worth more than a billion, getting a lead was quite the task at the start back in the ’90s. Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura revealed some behind the scenes information, which included almost changing the lead to a female character.

Among those considered, was Keanu’s Speed co-star, Sandra Bullock.

According to Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura, had Bullock accepted, the film would’ve looked completely different.

“We went out to so many people I don’t remember. We were getting desperate,” di Bonaventura said.

“We went to Sandy Bullock and said ‘We’ll change Neo to a girl.’ [Producer] Joel Silver and I worked with Sandy on ‘Demolition Man’ and she was and continues to be a very good friend of mine. It was pretty simple. We sent her the script to see if she was interested in it. And if she was interested in it we would try to make the change.”

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Ultimately, Bullock turned down the role, “It just wasn’t something for her at the time. So really it didn’t go anywhere.”

Bullock did briefly speak about the opportunity, stating that she regretted not taking the role of Trinity, played by Carie-Anne Moss.

Sandra Bullock Took On The Film Forces Of Nature Instead, And It Flopped

In 1999, when The Matrix got its release, Sandra Bullock opted for a rom-com instead, alongside Ben Affleck. Forces of Nature was largely forgettable, receiving tough reviews. In addition, the film made $93 million at the box office, off a huge budget for a rom-com of $75 million.

Nonetheless, back in the day alongside CNN, Bullock spoke highly of the role, given that it was a character portrayal she never played in her career.

“Well I don’t, I would never get offered it,” she says emphatically. “You know, I would be hunting for it myself. But, normally — based on my last films — no one would ever offer it to me,” she said speaking about her ‘flawed’ character in the film.

We’ll always wonder what The Matrix might’ve looked like with Bullock in the film.

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