As of February 2016, the Matrix franchise has generated $3 billion in revenue
In an interview with Chinese anchor Chen Luyu, Jet Li revealed the reason for turning down a role in the Matrix sequels.
According to Li, The Wachowskis approached him for a role in the sequels for The Matrix, offering him the role of Seraph in The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolution, a role which ultimately went to Taiwanese actor Collin Chou
During the early 2000s, Martial arts legend Jet Li was attempting to cross over to America. Landing roles in films like Romeo Must die, Lethal Weapon 4, The One, and Unleashed he turned down a role in arguably one of the era’s biggest franchaise.
Li explained “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.”
Li believed, by digitizing his movements he would essentially give other film makers a free reign to replicate his moves in the future by superimpose the face of any actor onto it.
“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,” Li said.
Jet Li is one of the most iconic Chinese martial arts stars working today, He was recently cast in the role of the Emperor in the upcoming live-action remake of Disney’s Mulan.
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