Brad Pitt confirms he turned down lead role in The Matrix

Danny Thompson
Contributor
Brad Pitt attends the Maltin Modern Master Award Honoring Brad Pitt during the 35th Santa Barbara International Film Festival at the Arlington Theatre on January 22, 2020 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Matthew Simmons/Getty Images for SBIFF)

It has long been speculated over, but Brad Pitt has finally had his say and confirmed he turned down the lead role in The Matrix.

The part of Neo, which many consider a classic role in modern cinema, eventually went to Keanu Reeves, but the star wasn’t the producers first choice, with, apparently, many others coming before him - including, now it seems, Pitt.

Speaking at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, while receiving the Maltin Modern Master Award, Pitt was asked to reveal roles he had turned down.

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He responded: "I'll give you one, only one, because I really believe it was never mine.

"It's not mine. It's someone else's and they go and make it. I really do believe in that. I really do. But I did pass on The Matrix. I took the red pill,” the star said, referencing the famous red pill/blue pill scene from the movie.

He continued: “That’s the only one I’m naming … I wasn’t offered two or three. Only the first one. Just to clarify that. I come from a place, maybe it’s my upbringing, if I didn’t get it, then it wasn’t 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.”

Actors Keanu Reeves (L) and Sandra Bullock attend Spike TV's "Guys Choice 2014" at Sony Pictures Studios on June 7, 2014 in Culver City, California. (Photo by Mark Davis/WireImage for Spike TV)

However, it wasn’t just Pitt who was offered the role, with movie bosses even considering making Neo female when they tried to tempt Sandra Bullock on board.

Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura told The Wrap last year: "We went out to so many people I don't remember. We were getting desperate. We went to Sandy Bullock and said, 'We'll change Neo to a girl'.

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"Joel Silver (the producer) 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. It just wasn't something for her at the time. So really it didn't go anywhere."

As well as Bullock and Pitt, Di Bonaventura has also previously revealed both Leonardo DiCaprio and Will Smith were approached for the, but both turned it down.