The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard star Salma Hayek is certainly no stranger when it came to action roles. Not to say, she always landed them as she revealed to host Jada Pinkett Smith on her series Red Table Talk on Facebook Watch (via Entertainment Weekly) of her failed The Matrix (1999) audition for the role of Trinity. While the part went to Carrie-Anne Moss, Hayek recalled being part of the final cut.
Salma Hayek's Matrix Audition
"We were one of the four finalists for The Matrix," Hayek recalled. "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. 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.'"
The Wachowskis cast Pinkett Smith and wrote the role of Niobe for the sequels. Both agreed that the decision to cast Moss was correct. "I always tell Carrie-Anne that she was perfect for that one," Pinkett Smith said. While Hayek admits she never heard from the duo again, she complimented Pinkett-Smith on her inspiration for all future 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!" she said. Coincidentally, Pinkett-Smith's history with the franchise goes further than her time in the sequels. Her husband Will Smith was the original choice for franchise protagonist Neo before passing upon the role that went to Keanu Reeves. Smith admitted at the time he didn't understand the role but ultimately regretted the missed opportunity. "I knew it would be revolutionary," she recalled. "I was like, 'Will; you've got to do this movie!' He didn't fully get it, but I did." Reeves, Moss, and Pinkett-Smith are reprising their roles for the untitled fourth Matrix film.
Hayek was able to carve her own way into the genre with Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over and Once Upon a Time in Mexico in 2003, reuniting with frequent collaborator director Robert Rodriguez with her memorable turns in Desperado (1995) and From Dusk Till Dawn (1996). She also starred in Bandidas (2006) opposite Penélope Cruz and flew solo in 2014's Everly. Hayek can next be seen leading the ensemble cast along with Angelina Jolie in the upcoming MCU film Eternals as the venerable Ajak, which comes out to theaters on November 5. Lionsgate's The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard is currently in theaters.