Star Jet Li could’ve been a part of the Matrix franchise, but he turned down the role, and finally, he has revealed why.
Li has been in many hit films, but at one point he could’ve been a part of the Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions. Li was up for the role of the guardian of the Oracle, Seraph. The role was grabbed by Colleen Chou ultimately. A report via Abacus reveals why the global star turned down the role.
“It was a commercial struggle for me,” Li told Chen Luyu. “I realized the Americans wanted me to film for three months but be with the crew for nine. And for six months, they wanted to record and copy all my moves into a digital library.”
That last part was the main issue, as he says “By the end of the recording, the right to these moves would go to them.”
This meant that they would have owned all his moves digitally and do anything they want with them, something that Li wasn’t okay with.
“I was thinking: I’ve been training my entire life. And we martial artists could only grow older. Yet they could own [my moves] as an intellectual property forever. So I said I couldn’t do that,”
However, Li also stated that the film will do well, with or without him, and that’s exactly how it all happened. The first Matrix film grossed over $463 million worldwide in 1999.
It came with two more sequels in Reloaded and Revolutions. Reloaded grossed over $281 million and another $460 million overseas for a worldwide haul of $742 million. The final part didn’t do as great but still was pretty profitable. The film grossed $427 million worldwide.