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Salma Hayek says that she was one of the four finalists, alongside Jada Pinkett Smith, to play Trinity, member of the Nebuchadnezzar, computer hacker and leading love interest in the Wachowskis’ Matrix franchise.
While appearing on the latest episode of Pinkett Smith’s Facebook Watch series, Red Table Talk, which dropped early Wednesday, The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard star revealed not only how close she came to winning the role famously played by Carrie-Anne Moss, but also why she lost it.
“We’d jumped through many hurdles, screen testing and many auditions,” Hayek said of both her and Pinkett Smith’s audition process. “They brought these stunt coordinators from Asia. It was the physical test. I’m flexible and agile, but I’m lazy.”
Ultimately, the actress says it was her inability to pass that physical test that lost her the part.
“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,” she elaborated. “They never called me again after that day.”
While Hayek admitted she failed to meet the physical requirements to play Trinity, she praised Pinkett Smith’s audition.
“Oh my God! She was so good! It was so embarrassing!” Hayek said of Pinkett Smith’s physical audition. “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.'”
Although Pinkett Smith lost out on the leading part to Carrie-Anne Moss, she ultimately appeared as Niobe, a rebel from Zion and Morpheus’ former partner, a role Lilly and Lana Wachowski created for her.
Hayek went on to share that her fellow actress’ audition performance was so good, she took it to heart going into future auditions for action roles. “Every time I’m going to do action, I say, ‘No, I better start getting some stamina and practice the routines. You’ve got to be like Jada!’ “
By the end of the discussion, Pinkett Smith — who is slated to appear in The Matrix 4 — and Hayek both agreed the role in the 1999 sci-fi hit went to the right person. “I always tell Carrie-Anne that she was perfect for that one,” Pinkett Smith said.
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