Jet Li (‘The One,’ ‘Fearless’) is one of the greatest cinematic martial artists of all time, and it might surprise you that he turned down being part of ‘The Matrix‘ series. What is even more surprising is the specific reason that he didn’t join this smash hit series which The Wachowski’s unleashed upon the world. We know that Collin Chou ended up playing the Oracle’s guardian Seraph, but at one point Li was in talks to join ‘The Matrix Reloaded’ and ‘Matrix Revolutions’ as the character.
The conflict for the actor was that by agreeing to join the film, the studio would have ended up being able to own any of the moves he performed in front of the camera.
According to Li:
“It was a commercial struggle for me. 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. By the end of the recording, the right to these moves would go to them. 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.”
While it is a shame that Li wasn’t able to take part in ‘The Matrix,’ it is always feasible that the studio might be able to lure him back for the proposed reboot if they don’t demand to own the rights to his martial arts!
Do you think that Jet Li would have made the action sequences with Seraph in ‘The Matrix’ films that much better? Would you be interested in seeing him join the reboot if it was to happen? Share your thoughts in the comments below!