It’s been almost 20 years since The Matrix hit theaters, and while it’s difficult to picture anyone but Keanu Reeves as Neo, that’s exactly what almost happened.
In a recent interview with The Wrap, producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura revealed that Warner Bros. struggled to find an actor to play the leading role. In fact, they got so “desperate” that they nearly changed the character to a woman.
“We went to [Sandra] Bullock and said, ‘We’ll change Neo to a girl,’” he said. “[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.”
Unfortunately, it “didn’t go anywhere” because Bullock was occupied with other projects. Nevertheless, Warner Bros. eventually found Reeves, and the rest is history.
The Matrix originally premiered back in 1999 and told the story of Neo, a computer programmer who ventures out of the Matrix and into reality. It starred Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss (Trinity), Laurence Fishburne (Morpheus), Hugo Weaving (Agent Smith), Joe Pantoliano (Cypher) and Gloria Foster (The Oracle).
If you need us, we’ll be rewatching The Matrix with Bullock in mind.