I, ROBOT star Will Smith is glad he turned down the chance to play NEO in blockbuster The Matrix because he would have "ruined the movie".

The 35-year-old is relieved Hollywood hunk Keanu Reeves played the lead character in the trilogy - which starred Smith's wife Jada Pinkett-Smith as NIOBE - and confesses he would have "forced every moment" because he didn't understand the complex science-fiction script.

Smith admits, "I didn't get it when I read it. It's a hard movie to pitch. You know: 'Everybody lives inside a computer.' It was only when I saw it that I really got it.

"But every so often you see a performance you know you couldn't have given, and Keanu was brilliant as Neo. It was his role. I would have ruined the movie. I would have forced every moment."

25/07/2004 21:28