'The Matrix' Producers Originally Wanted Sandra Bullock as Neo

The Matrix landed in theaters 20 years ago, effectively changing the face of science fiction cinema due to its inventive special effects and philosophical themes. Keanu Reeves starred as Neo, a computer hacker who was destined to be "The One" who would free humanity from enslavement by robots who distracted humanity with a computer interface they believed to be reality, known as "The Matrix." Every component of the film played perfectly off of one another, yet the final product differed slightly from some of the producers' original plans. One of the film's producers, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, confirmed early plans for the film toyed with Sandra Bullock playing Neo.

“We went out to so many people I don’t remember. We were getting desperate,” di Bonaventura shared with The Wrap. “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.”

This direction was only briefly considered, with the producer noting, “It just wasn’t something for her at the time. So really it didn’t go anywhere.”

While The Matrix has built an impressive legacy since its debut, it was a relatively low budget affair, as far as blockbusters are concerned, yet it managed to earn the attention of huge stars.

“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,” the producer confessed. “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.”

Neo wasn't the only character that the studio considered many actors for, with di Bonaventura explaining, "We went to Arnold Schwarzenegger hoping he’d say yes for Morpheus. We went to Michael Douglas for Morpheus.”

Despite the various plans for the film, the producer is confident in the final product.

“Along the way we realized how hard it was what we were doing. Here were these young guys who had done one movie, and they were going to direct this very hard-to-understand script,” di Bonaventura explained. “The good news was, Keanu said yes and he was awesome.”

With the last film in the series, The Matrix Revolutions, having landed in theaters in 2003, various reports have emerged that plans are in the works to reboot the series.

Would you have you to have seen Sandra Bullock in The Matrix? Let us know in the comments!



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