Olivier Awards: Jason Manford jokes about Will Smith’s slap

Smith has remained in the headlines in recent weeks after his scandalous streak with Oscars host Chris Rock cost him his Academy Award. The 53-year-old apologized after slapping Rock at the ceremony earlier this year, before accepting the Best Actor award for his emotional performance in King Richard. While the outburst may be something he regrets, Smith once made another decision that may have changed his career path and so have other superstars.

A feedback report reveals how Smith turned down the role of Neo in The Matrix series in favor of pursuing a role in Wild Wild West.

Last year, Reeves, who took over the role on Smith’s behalf, thanked the Fresh Prince of Bel Air star for passing on the role, and allowing him to take center stage in the franchise.

Speaking to Esquire, Reeves said: “Wow, it changed my life. And, it’s been a wonderfully creative experience, and so, to play Neo in The Matrix trilogy and now the fourth.

“It has impacted my life, personally and creatively. Thank you very much.”

Will Smith irked: Star turned down The Matrix role to take on the lead role in failed Wild Wild West (Image: GETTY)

Will Smith Wins This Year's Best Actor Oscar

Will Smith Wins This Year’s Best Actor Oscar (Image: GETTY)

Smith is said to have turned down the role to play US Army Captain James “Jim” T. West, opposite Kevin Kline in the action-adventure film.

But the film was met with mostly negative reviews and received 11 nominations at the 2000 Golden Raspberry Awards.

Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 16% approval rating, with legendary film critic Roger Ebert, of The Chicago Sun-Times, giving the film one star out of four.

He said at the time: “The Wild Wild West is a comedic dead zone. You stare in disbelief as the scene shoots and dies.

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Will Smith slaps Chris Rock at the Oscars

Will Smith slaps Chris Rock at the Oscars (Image: GETTY)

“The movie is conceptual and has no content; elaborate special effects are like watching burning money on screen.”

Janet Maslin, of The New York Times, also criticized, saying the film “is so far removed from reality that its storytelling would be very arbitrary even by comic standards and that its characters have nothing in common. or emotional connection”.

Smith himself commented on his irritation, admitting that the success of Independence Day made him feel invincible.

According to Entertainment Weekly, Smith said in 2019: “I did Wild Wild West. I’m not proud of it.”

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Will Smith with the Oscar statuette

Will Smith with the Oscar statuette (Image: GETTY)

He added: “Keanu is perfect, Laurence Fishburne is perfect.”

“So I probably messed up The Matrix. I messed it up, so I did please. “

Smith also revealed that if he was cast as Neo, then Fishburne’s Morpheus would go to Val Kilmer.

Smith’s career began as a rapper, under the name Fresh Prince, before he achieved major box office success in Noughties.

As well as his Oscar, the star has won a BAFTA, a Golden Globe and four Grammy Awards.

Filming locations in the UK

Filming locations in the UK (Image: EXPRESS)

As of 2021, Smith’s films have grossed nearly $10 billion (£7.6 billion) globally, making him one of the most likely stars to earn in Hollywood.

Following his change to Rock, Smith subsequently resigned from the Academy.

He was banned from attending Academy activities, including the Oscars, for ten years.

Winning the Academy Award made him the fifth actor of color to receive the Academy Award for Best Actor.

He was also nominated for his roles in The Pursuit of Happyness and Ali.


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