Once Upon a Time in Hollywood lead Brad Pitt has been on a hot streak this award season, whether it’s getting tongues to wag while he’s in the wings with ex-wife Jennifer Aniston or reeling off a memorable acceptance speech at an award show. As Pitt makes the rounds in the run up to the Oscars, he clocked in some time earlier this week at the 35th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival where he opened up about his career with Leonard Maltin. During that conversation, Pitt revealed how he was almost a part of The Matrix franchise.
Pitt was honored with the Maltin Modern Master Award on Wednesday night and proceeded to have a chat with Maltin about his own career. At one point in the conversation, Maltin seemingly prodded Pitt to reveal if there has been a role or roles which he remember passing up on. The implication here, of course, is revealing possible insights into an alternate history where Pitt could have starred in a famous movie we all know and love, leaving us to wonder what could have been. Per USA Today‘s report, Pitt was reticent to reveal much before ultimately revealing one role he passed on: a part in 1999’s The Matrix.
“I did pass on The Matrix. I took the red pill. That’s the only one I’m naming … I wasn’t offered two or three. Only the first one. Just to clarify that. I come from a place, maybe it’s my upbringing, if I didn’t get it, then it wasn’t mine. I really believe [the role] was never mine. It’s not mine. It was someone else’s and they go and make it. I really do believe in that. If we were doing a show on the great movies I’ve passed on, we would need two nights.”
Although Pitt didn’t say which role he had been considered for, The Wrap reported back in 2019 and on The Matrix‘s 20th anniversary that Pitt had been up for the role of Neo. That role ultimately went on to Keanu Reeves, who played the hacker-turned-savior-of-the-world for three films. As for Pitt, we will just have to imagine what The Matrix would have been like if he’d taken the role.