These days, we know Will Smith as an immensely popular and talented actor, and he’s got the awards to prove it. The 52-year-old actor has been nominated for five Golden Globe Awards and two Academy Awards, and has won four Grammy Awards.
On top of that, Forbes ranked him as the most bankable star worldwide, with most of his films earning over $100 million each at the box office, and several of them raking in over $500 million each. Newsweek called him “the most powerful actor in Hollywood.”
At the premiere of Smith’s new film, Gemini Man, Fox Chicago reporter Jake Hamilton asked him a two-part question inspired by the new movie. Hamilton wanted to know which movie set from his past that he would revisit, and what he would tell his past self.
Smith answered both parts of that question with a very blunt reply: “I’d go back to the Wild Wild West [set] and I would say, ‘A**hole, why didn’t you do The Matrix?”
Of course, all joking aside, Smith already knows the answer to that question anyway. Earlier this year, Smith discussed his passing of The Matrix on his YouTube channel.
It is relatively well-known that Will Smith passed on the starring role of Neo in 1999’s blockbuster The Matrix in favor of doing Wild Wild West, a decision that has apparently been lingering in the back of his mind ever since.
According to Smith’s YouTube video, his decision to pass on The Matrix was because he was… less than impressed after meeting with the filmmakers, the Wachowski siblings. At the time, they only had one film under their belt, and they apparently gave a less-than-impressive pitch to the actor, who was still riding the success of Independence Day at the time.
The Matrix was a huge hit that redefined Keanu Reeves’ career, won numerous awards, and inspired a franchise that is still continuing to this day with the fourth installment currently in development. On the other hand, Wild Wild West flopped with critics and at the box office.
These days, the actor admits, “I’m not proud of it,” when talking about Wild Wild West. Even still, I don’t think Smith is going to need depression treatment to cope with his poor decision-making skills in his past or anything. He’s still in good spirits and laughing about it.
He joked about his decision to pass on the iconic sci-fi action film, saying that he “probably would have messed The Matrix up,” adding “I would have ruined it, so I did y’all a favor.”