The Matrix Reloaded took place around six months after the events of the first film. Niobe, played by Jada Pinkett Smith, was introduced as “a member of the Resistance and the captain of the ships Logos and Logos II.”
The part of Niobe is said to have been written specifically for Jada, after she had failed her first audition, for the first Matrix movie. The star of NBC’s classic sitcom A Different World had tried her luck at landing the role of Trinity, but failed to succeed.
The character was instead portrayed by Carrie-Ann Moss, in that inaugural picture of the franchise, and every sequel that has followed since. Trinity is an operative of Zion, the only remaining known human city on earth, as well as a love interest – and later lover – of Neo.
When Reeves and Smith got on set to work together things did not go so well….
The lack of connection between Jada Pinkett Smith and Keanu Reeves was one of the main reasons she was passed up for the role of Trinity in the first place.
She stated this in a 2015 interview with Howard Stern on The Howard Stern Show.
The controversy grew out of Will Smith’s refusal to play Neo in the first Matrix film. Will, according to Jada, was not convinced by the Wachowskis’ vision, despite being swept away by the tale and “imagery.”
According to her, this turned out to be a gift in disguise since it allowed her to later audition for the role of Trinity. Although she was not successful, the character Niobe was supposedly developed particularly for her.
Jada couldn’t put her finger on what it was that kept her from getting serious with Keanu.
“I don’t think it was his fault. I think it was as much my fault as anybody, It wasn’t just Ke, it was me too.” she said at the time.
Despite being denied her dream part due to her lack of connection with Keanu, the actress said that the two became excellent friends subsequently.
“Keanu and I didn’t click [during the audition],” she continued. “At that particular time we didn’t, [but] we actually became really good friends after I played Niobe.”