International action superstar Jet Li revealed that he was offered an important role in “The Matrix” sequels back in the early 2000s but decided to turn it down.
During an interview with a Chinese talk show, Li said he was originally meant to take on the role of Seraph, a supporting character featured in “The Matrix Reloaded” and “The Matrix Revolutions,” Abacus reports.
The character, a computer program that is personified as a human of Asian descent, ended up being portrayed by Taiwanese martial arts actor Collin Chou.
Explaining why he decided to pass on the role, Li expressed concern that his martial arts moves would end up being owned by the film’s production outfit and had the potential to be recycled for future movies.
“I realized the Americans wanted me to film for three months but be with the crew for nine,” Li was quoted as saying. “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.”
View this post on Instagram
Li did not like the idea that the skills he developed for decades would become the intellectual copyright of someone else.
“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.”
The 55-year-old actor, who made his Hollywood debut in 1998’s “Lethal Weapon 4”, will soon be seen on the big screen again via Disney’s upcoming live-action Mulan remake.
Li is set to play the emperor of China, who will order the mobilization of an army via the conscription of one male from each household.