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    Sandra Bullock Was Offered The Role Of Neo In “The Matrix” And My Mind Is Blown

    “We went to Sandy Bullock and said ‘We’ll change Neo to a girl’.”

    There’s a pretty strong chance that you’ve already seen The Matrix. After all, it’s one of the most iconic movies of the ’90s.

    Warner Bros.

    Even if you haven’t seen it, you probably know that it stars Keanu Reeves as the main character, Neo. It was a formative role for Keanu, who went on to front the movie’s two sequels.

    Warner Bros.

    However, things almost didn’t work out that way. In a recent interview, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, who helped get the The Matrix into production, revealed that the role of Neo was actually offered to a ton of A-listers before it reached Keanu.

    Warner Bros.

    “The first movie star who says yes is Brad Pitt,” said Lorenzo, before explaining that Brad then backtracked because he was “exhausted” from filming Seven Years in Tibet.

    TriStar Pictures

    Brad went on to film Fight Club, which was released in 1999, the same year as The Matrix.

    Next up on the list was a name you might’ve heard as well — Leonardo DiCaprio. “He says yes, we have meetings with him and then he goes, ‘You know, I can’t go do another visual effects movie having just finished Titanic,’ and he drops out.”

    20th Century Fox

    Following Titanic, Leonardo went on to star in The Man in the Iron Mask.

    That’s when Will Smith was approached to front the movie. You might remember that back in February, Will revealed that he turned it down for Wild, Wild West, which, ladies and gentlemen, is what you call an Interesting Choice.

    Warner Bros.

    So, with everybody else turning it down, that just leaves Keanu, right? WRONG! The role was offered to another iconic name and, to be quite honest, I’m shook.


    “We went to Sandy Bullock and said ‘We’ll change Neo to a girl’,” said Lorenzo. “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.”

    Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images

    OK, let’s just pause right here for a second. Can you imagine a world where icon and legend Sandra Bullock plays Neo in The Matrix? No offence to Keanu, but I absolutely HAVE to see this version of the movie immediately.

    Warner Bros.

    Unfortunately, however, things didn’t go to plan and Sandra also turned down the role. “It just wasn’t something for her at the time. So really it didn’t go anywhere,” Lorenzo revealed.

    Ilya S. Savenok / Getty Images

    Sandra has touched on this subject in the past. In a 2009 interview, she was asked about roles she had wanted but didn’t get, which is when The Matrix came up.

    There haven’t been any roles that I wanted that I didn’t get, but there was a movie I wish I had done: The Matrix. At the time [I was approached about it], it wasn’t cast with Keanu [Reeves], and I didn’t see myself with the person they wanted [in it]. Later I saw the movie and loved it. It was sexy and great because of Carrie-Anne [Moss] and Keanu.

    But, here’s something to bear in mind — if Sandra had taken the role of Neo in The Matrix, she might not have ended up in Miss Congeniality, which she filmed the following year. I think we can all agree that would’ve been a tragedy.

    Warner Bros.

    You can read Lorenzo’s full interview here.

    Ben Henry is a celebrity reporter for BuzzFeed UK and is based in London.

    Contact Ben Henry at

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