26 Hollywood Casting Close Calls
Will Smith Turned Down "The Matrix"
Will Smith was apparently a little uneasy about being a sci-fi star. Initially, he passed on his role in 1997's "Men in Black"—until Jada Pinkett Smith talked some sense into him. Soon after, he was courted for a much more mind-bending thriller: "The Matrix." That's right—he was the first choice to play Neo and only when he passed did it go to Keanu Reeves. But Will is happy about how things turned out. "I would have absolutely messed up 'The Matrix,'" he said. "At that point I wasn't smart enough as an actor to let the movie be -- whereas Keanu was." Instead, Will did "Wild Wild West." Oops. [CNN, How Stuff Works