IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Brad Pitt reveals he turned down 'The Matrix'

Brad Pitt turned down the role of Neo in 1999's "The Matrix," a role that went to Keanu Reeves.
/ Source: TODAY

Ready for a different kind of Keanu Reeves "whoa!" moment?

Brace yourself: Brad Pitt turned down the role of Neo in 1999's "The Matrix," a role that went to Reeves.


Image: 26th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards - Press Room
Brad Pitt said no to a classic role in "The Matrix." Here, he's seen at the 26th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles in January. Gregg DeGuire / Getty Images

Warned you. And it's all true, as Pitt confirmed during the Santa Barbara International Film Festival Wednesday, where he was being honored for his long career. While receiving the Leonard Maltin Modern Master Award, he was interviewed by the prize's namesake, who asked what important movie Pitt didn't appear in.

"I did pass on 'The Matrix,'" Pitt admitted, according to USA Today. Then he added with a smile, "I took the red pill. That's the only one I'm naming."

Of course, in the film, Neo is presented with two options: Take the blue pill, and live without the knowledge that he exists in a simulation, or take the red, and find out the truth.

This isn't brand-new news; in 2019 "Matrix" producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura revealed to The Wrap that Pitt wasn't the only contender up for consideration: Leonardo DiCaprio (who stars with Pitt in "Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood") and Will Smith were also in line. Sandra Bullock was a consideration, too, once they decided Neo could be female as well.

Hey, we'd watch any of those options, as much as we love Reeves as Neo.

Image: THE MATRIX 1990 Warner film with Keanu Reeves
Hard to imagine anyone other than Keanu Reeves as Neo in "The Matrix."Getty / Alamy Stock Photo

At the SBIFF, Pitt also noted that he definitely had the offer and Neo was the only role he was up for. "I wasn't offered two or three," he said. "Only the first one. Just to clarify that."

In general, though, he isn't fond of talking about projects he passed on. "I come from a place; maybe it's my upbringing," he said. "If I didn't get it, then it wasn't mine. I really believe (the role) was never mine ... It was someone else's and they go and make it."

That said, if he ever did spill the beans, Pitt (who, like DiCaprio, is nominated for an Academy Award for "Hollywood") says they'd need extra-comfy seats.

"If we were doing a show on great movies I've passed on, we would need two nights," he said.

We apologize, this video has expired.