Sandra Bullock on Turning Down Neo Role in 'The Matrix': It Went to the Right Person
WENN/Warner Bros. Pictures/Ivan Nikolov

Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura reveals the Oscar-winning actress was offered the lead role of Neo in the Wachowskis' popular sci-fi trilogy before it went to Keanu Reeves.

AceShowbiz - "The Matrix" could have been a female-led movie with Sandra Bullock as Neo. Before Keanu Reeves was tapped for the part, the "Gravity" actress was offered the lead role in the movie, so producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura reveals.

di Bonaventura, who fought to get "The Matrix" made at Warner Bros., tells TheWrap that they had a hard time finding the right actor for the role, so they briefly considered a woman. They offered the part to Bullock, who at the time had starred alongside Reeves in 1994's "Speed", and were willing to switch the gender if she accepted it.

"We went out to so many people I don't remember. We were getting desperate," di Bonaventura says, adding that Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Will Smith were considered for the part as well. "We went to Sandy Bullock and said 'We'll change Neo to a girl.' "

"[Producer] Joel Silver and I worked with Sandy on 'Demolition Man' and she was and continues to be a very good friend of mine. It was pretty simple. 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," he goes on dishing.

But Bullock turned down the role. "It just wasn't something for her at the time. So really it didn't go anywhere," di Bonaventura explains.

Commenting on the reveal, Bullock says through a representative that she didn't recall the specifics of the pitch for "The Matrix", but says that di Bonaventura was always supportive of her career. She adds that ultimately the right person was cast for the movie.

Bullock previously revealed in a 2009 interview with "Today" that she was also considered for the part of Trinity, which eventually went to Carrie-Anne Moss. She regretted not taking it, saying, "It was sexy and great because of Carrie-Anne and Keanu."

di Bonaventura also details why other famous actors considered for the role of Neo backed out of the project. "The first movie star who says yes is Brad Pitt, he's doing 'Seven Years in Tibet' and then he's coming out of it and he's like 'I'm way too exhausted to take this on,' so he's gone," he recalls. "Then we go to 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. Then Will Smith joins it and he drops out."

Explaining his decision not to join the movie, Smith said on his YouTube channel back in February. "They came in and they made a pitch for 'The Matrix' and, as it turns out, they're geniuses," he said of his meeting with the Wachowskis. "But there's a fine line in a pitch meeting between genius and what I experienced in the meeting." The "Aladdin" star said he was confused by the pitch, but said that Reeves was the right star for the role.

Meanwhile, Morpheus could have been played by a white actor as Val Kilmer, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Michael Douglas were considered for the part. "We went to Arnold Scwarzeneger hoping he'd say yes for Morpheus. We to Michael Douglas for Morpheus," di Bonaventura says.

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