Jada Pinkett Smith may have lost out on the lead role in The Matrix, but the writers/directors were so impressed with her audition, they created a character for her in the movie sequels. Pinkett Smith once revealed the important question she needed to be answered before accepting the role.
Jada Pinkett Smith didn’t have chemistry with Keanu Reeves
Pinkett Smith wanted the role of Trinity in The Matrix — but when she auditioned with Keanu Reeves, who played Neo, she said the two “didn’t really click.” In a 2015 interview on The Howard Stern Show, the actor explained how she didn’t land the gig.
“I auditioned for Trinity with Keanu,” she explained. “But Keanu and I didn’t, uh, really click … At that particular time, no we didn’t … we actually became really good friends.”
Stern asked if she had done a screen test for the film and she explained, “Oh yeah. We just didn’t have any chemistry, he and I.”
“I don’t think it was his fault,” Pinkett Smith added. “I think it was as much my fault as anybody. It wasn’t just Ke, it was me too.”
Though she didn’t book the part, she had nothing but love for Carrie-Anne Moss, who famously played the role of Trinity. “I do wish [I had been cast as Trinity], but I look at Carrie-Anne and I just go, she’s freaking amazing. There’s no way in the world I would have brought that,” Pinkett Smith admitted.
Jada Pinkett Smith had one question before accepting the role of Niobe
Despite losing out on the role, The Wachowskis, who wrote and directed The Matrix films, found a way to cast Pinkett Smith in the sequels. The duo created the character Niobe just for her.
She had just one question for The Wachowskis before accepting the role, however, as she told the Chicago Tribune in a 2003 interview about her reaction to the custom-made character.
“What I loved about Niobe was that she was created for me,” Pinkett Smith explained. “I met the Wachowskis for the first Matrix, so I really didn’t need to read anything when I was told ‘They created this character for you.’ ‘Really? Any nudity?’ ‘Nope.’ ‘All right then! Let’s get it on!,’” she told the paper.
Pinkett Smith had to lie to keep the part
In a video for Vanity Fair, Pinkett Smith shared how the choice part came about — and how she had to tell a lie to secure it because she was pregnant at the time.
“I didn’t get Trinity, but they kept me in mind. And they wrote a part for me called Niobe,” Pinkett Smith explained. “And I’ll never forget when they called me in and they were like, Jada, we have this role for you, Niobe, but you’re pregnant.”
“And I’ll tell you a secret. I lied,” she confessed. “Because Willow was supposed to be due November 11 but I told them, ‘No worries, the baby’s coming in October, so by the time the end of November comes, I’m going to be ready.’”
Willow was born at the very end of October, but Pinkett Smith was determined to play Niobe. “Do you know mama was ready. I was ready,” she explained. “End of November to start The Matrix. Pushed that baby out, got in the gym, and got it together.”
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