Five cool facts you didn’t know about The MatrixWatch the collection
Will Smith was offered the role of Neo, find out who broke their leg in the first week of training, and more. The Matrix collection is now streaming on Showmax.
In 1999, the Wachowski Sisters (then brothers) revolutionised the sci-fi genre with The Matrix. The film remains one of Hollywood’s most stylish action films, thanks to its glossy leather costumes, sleek action sequences and innovative camera work. It looked good 20 years ago, and it’s still handsome to look at.
The Matrix’s plot, which centres on a brewing war between humans and machines, is confusing, but that didn’t deter viewers worldwide (the film grossed $463 million) – thanks to the film’s novel action sequences and graphics. What’s a puzzling story when you can watch Keanu Reeves’s iconic bullet dodge in slow-mo or marvel at the lethal-wearing heroes kicking some machine ass!
But ever wondered the cool things you didn’t know about The Wachowski’s blockbusters? Take the red pill and dive into The Matrix.
Will Smith was the Original one
Will Smith was the freshest prince in the 90s, so the Wachowskis wanted him for Neo. The offer came when Smith wanted a breakaway from alien-related films. But Smith didn’t take the role because he didn’t understand the pitch from the Wachowski (watch below). Maybe that’s why they named the villain Agent Smith.
Morpheus and Trinity were also turned down
Will Smith wasn’t the only one who said no to the Wachowskis. The Matrix was puzzling and going to be time-consuming (shooting lasted over 100 days) – so, many actors said no.
The character of Morpheus, one of the humans freed from the matrix and leader of the revolution against the machines, was turned down by Russel Crowe. It was then offered to Gary Oldham and Samuel L. Jackson but eventually went to Laurence Fishbourne, and we couldn’t be more grateful.
Another surprise is Janet Jackson, who turned down Trinity, Morpheus’s lead soldier and Neo’s love interest, because of scheduling conflicts. The role ultimately went to Carrie-Anne Moss.
Broken bones and ankles while shooting
The Wachowskis wanted the actors to perform their own stunts, so the cast trained intensively for four months before shooting. While this produced great performances, it also caused some wear and tear.
“I broke my leg on a wire,” Moss said during a promotional tour for The Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions. “I broke my leg the first week of training. It was a challenge to overcome right off the bat. I came in really gung-ho and ready to do it, and then I got an obstacle given to me in the very beginning.”
Moss didn’t tell anyone about the injury because she feared being recast. Hugo Weaving, who played Agent Smith, injured his hip and had to undergo surgery.
Pioneered non-muscly action heroes
‘90s Hollywood favoured muscular action stars, but Keanu Reeves was beautiful, shaven and slender. Neo was also not braggadocio; he was an accidental hero who often turned to Trinity for help because he didn’t know his capability.
The characters played by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone during this era burst into scenes knowing what to do and doing it. But the Wachowski’s created an action hero that feels like the everyday man; this launched the template for the non-muscly action stars we see today.
Keanu Reeves gave away 90% of his profits to crew members
Perhaps the most extraordinary Matrix fact ever! Keanu Reeves signed away a huge percentage of profits from the Matrix’s sequels, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, to the special effects crew and costume designers. He did so because he believed their contribution was most key to the movie’s success.