Before Priyanka Chopra, Lara Dutta was up for a role in the Matrix franchise; here’s why she quit

Lara Dutta spoke about the time when she could have made her acting debut not in Bollywood, but in one of the most anticipated Hollywood sequels of all time–The Matrix Reloaded.

Lara Dutta has never shied away from talking about the different path she took in her career, as compared to fellow beauty queen-turned-actors Priyanka Chopra and Aishwarya Rai. But just like Priyanka and Aishwarya, Lara also had an opportunity early in her career to work in Hollywood. In a new interview, she spoke about why she had to pass on the chance.
The project in question was the Matrix series, an industry-altering science-fiction franchise that got a fourth instalment just last year. Incidentally, that film featured Priyanka in a supporting role.
“It was a tough time,” she told Hindustan Times about having to turn down the chance to appear in the Matrix series. “I had not even started out in Bollywood. But I was very clear about what I wanted in life. Everything else came second, I just had to be with my mother at the time. I did not even think twice and came back to India. And, it wasn’t like I came here thinking we have Bollywood (as a backup, since I gave up on a huge Hollywood opportunity). I just had to be with my mother at the time since she was unwell, extremely unwell. Therefore I did not even think twice and came back to India.”
Lara, who was crowned Miss Universe in the year 2000, eventually made her acting debut with 2003’s Andaaz. She most recently appeared in the film BellBottom, in which she played former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, and in the streaming series Kaun Banegi Shikharwati.
She had previously spoken about the missed opportunity of appearing in the Matrix series over a decade ago. She’d told Bollywood Hungama, “Let’s face it that it will only require a fool’s brains to be turning down the role because of the script. But the fact is that it is true, I was offered a role in The Matrix. But this happened during my ‘Miss Universe’ days. I turned it down as my mother fell really sick during that time (December 2001, to be precise) and I very badly wanted to come back home and be with her.”
The first Matrix film was released in 1999. Based on Lara’s comments, it would appear that she was up for a role in the sequels–The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions–which were shot back-to-back.
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