Salma Hayek joined Jada Pinkett Smith on the most recent installment of the latter’s Facebook interview series “Red Table Talk” (via Yahoo Entertainment) and revealed she was one of the four finalists in the casting process for Trinity in “The Matrix.” One of the other four finalists was Pinkett Smith herself. Hayek’s career was red hot at the time following U.S. breakthrough “Desperado,” popular rom-com “Fools Rush In,” and more. But when “The Matrix” casting process built to a physical endurance test, Hayek said she didn’t stand a chance.
“We were one of the four finalists for The Matrix,” Hayek said. “We’d jumped through many hurdles, screen testing, and many auditions. They brought these stunt coordinators from Asia. It was the physical test. I’m flexible and agile, but I’m lazy. I never really went to the gym, they said, ‘You have to run!’ I go, ‘To where?’ I couldn’t even go around the room once.”
Hayek was trying and failing to get through “The Matrix” physical test when Pinkett Smith walked in the room. To say Hayek was impressed would be an understatement. The actress said, “Here comes Jada, a mean, lean, sexy machine! Oh my God! She was so good! It was so embarrassing! She was so fit, she was so focused, she was so disciplined. She was so capable. She was so gracious. And I just looked at this woman and I thought to myself, ‘That’s who I want to be when I grow up.'”
“Every time I’m going to do action, I say, no, I better start getting some stamina and practice the routines,” Hayek concluded. “You’ve got to be like Jada!”
Both Hayek and Pinkett Smith agree “The Matrix” went with the right person for Trinity: Carrie-Anne Moss (“I always tell Carrie-Anne that she was perfect for that one,” Pinkett Smith said). Pinkett Smith would rejoin the franchise for its second and third installments as Niobe. Once Hayek lost the part of Trinity, her time with “The Matrix” was finished.
Later this year, Pinkett Smith will return to “The Matrix” by reprising Niobe opposite Moss and Keanu Reeves in “The Matrix 4” (the film is still without an official title). Warner Bros. is opening “The Matrix 4” in theaters December 22, the same day the sequel becomes available to stream on HBO Max for 31 days.