Sandra Bullock Almost Starred in The Matrix Instead of Keanu Reeves

Before the actor was cast, the actress was up for the role of Neo

By Elyse Dupre Mar 28, 2019 12:39 PMTags
Sandra Bullock, Keanu ReevesBryan Bedder/Getty Images for Netflix, Warner Bros.

It's been two decades since the release of The Matrix, but fans only recently discovered that the movie almost featured a completely different star.

As fans will recall, Keanu Reeves played the main character Neo. But in a recent interview with The Wrap, producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura claimed Warner Bros. had such a hard time finding their leading man that the studio considered changing the hacker character to a woman. 

"We went out to so many people I don't remember. We were getting desperate," di Bonaventura told the outlet. "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."

However, di Bonaventura said the role "wasn't something for her at the time" and that it "didn't go anywhere." Bullock, through a representative, told The Wrap she didn't remember the details of The Matrix pitch but noted di Bonaventura was always supportive of her career. In addition, she insisted the right person was cast for the role.

In a 2009 interview with Today, Bullock suggested she was also considered for the part of Trinity, played by Carrie-Anne Moss, but turned it down.

Sandra Bullock's Best Roles

Bullock wasn't the only big name the studio considered for Neo. The producer told the outlet Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Will Smith were also up for the job.

"The first movie star who says yes is Brad Pitt," he said. "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. 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."

In the end, the studio found Reeves and di Bonaventura admitted the casting process had led them to "the right place."

Over the course of their careers, Bullock and Reeves have worked on a few films together. The two appeared in the 1994 film Speed, as well as in the 2006 film The Lake House. In fact, the Miss Congeniality star once hinted to Ellen DeGeneres that she had a crush on Reeves during the making of the aforementioned action film.

The Matrix turns 20 on March 31.