Brad Pitt reveals he turned down lead role in The Matrix: ‘I took the red pill’

Ellie Harrison
Getty, Sky

Brad Pitt has revealed he turned down the opportunity to play Neo in The Matrix.

Last year, The Matrix producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura said Pitt was considered for the role, which was eventually given to Keanu Reeves, and now Pitt has claimed he was actually offered the part.

When asked about the movie roles he had rejected at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival on Wednesday (22 January), Pitt said: “I did pass on The Matrix. I took the red pill. That’s the only one I’m naming.”

He added: “I wasn’t offered two or three. Only the first one, just to clarify that.”

The choice between the red or blue pill has become a popular meme in the years since the release of the 1999 hit. In the film, choosing the red pill means being aware of the cruel truths of everyday life, while taking the blue pill is opting to remain living in blissful ignorance.

Pitt, who has been nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category at this year’s Oscars for his role in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, said he was reluctant to discuss the topic of his overlooked projects.

“I come from a place, maybe it’s my upbringing, if I didn’t get it, then it wasn’t mine,” he said. “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.”