Rosie Perez recalls bombing her Matrix audition with the Wachowskis: 'I really sucked'

Rosie Perez didn't get to decide between the blue pill or the red pill, but she still had a nice laugh following a disastrous audition for The Matrix with directors Lana and Lilly Wachowski.

The actress recalled bombing her audition for Trinity, the female lead role opposite Keanu Reeves that ultimately went to Carrie-Anne Moss, in a cover interview with Variety published Wednesday.

"I was horrible. As I was walking out, I was like, 'I know I didn't get the job. I really sucked,'" Perez recalled. "And the Wachowskis were like, 'No,' and the casting director was trying not to laugh. And then finally I looked at her and I go, 'I really sucked,' and she just burst out laughing."

"We all were laughing," Perez said. "I just gave the Wachowskis a hug and I said, 'Well, good luck with this.'"

Rosie Perez; Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity in 'The Matrix'
Rosie Perez; Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity in 'The Matrix'

Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images; Everett Collection Rosie Perez; Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity in 'The Matrix'

Though she didn't get to enter the Matrix, Perez had built a formidable portfolio up to that point, including notable roles in Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing, Ron Shelton's White Men Can't Jump, and the 21 Jump Street series starring Johnny Depp. Perez credited Depp for helping boost her confidence enough to question her former agent's role in her career.

"My first scene, Johnny Depp whispered in my ear, 'Oh, darling, you're too good for this shit,'" she recalled, adding that Depp told her he would "tell people about you" and that she was "right for the good stuff." Perez said of her then-agent, "She told me that if I dyed my hair blond and got a nose job, 'I can get you more jobs. Because you're not Black.' I couldn't believe it. I was like, 'Oh, my goodness. Like, thank you, fired.'"

The Oscar- and Emmy-nominated actor's career thus far has spanned genres and expanded into TV, including stints on The Flight Attendant, Now and Then, and, most recently, season 2 of Your Honor opposite Bryan Cranston, as a federal prosecutor named Olivia Delmont.

"It's a very dark show in some ways. One of the reasons we wanted this new character — and we were so thrilled that Rosie wanted to play [her] — is that we wanted someone who brought none of the trauma from season 1 and could bring some comedy, some levity, and also a new tone and attitude to the scenes she was in," showrunner Joey Hartstone told EW last year.

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