Since we saw him for the first time in the 90s in series like The prince of Bel Air or movies like Two rebel cops, Will Smith He has emerged as one of the most successful and beloved actors in Hollywood, a performer who throughout his long career has had no shortage of job offers and whom the public has practically never turned their back on him. However, Smith has not always been open to playing all kinds of roles.
And it is that the actor of Seven souls or I’m legend has come out to explain that during his career has always wanted to avoid movies about slavery, a decision motivated by wanting to show blacks in a different light in the Hollywood industry, by wanting to be seen before the public as a recognized interpreter of action cinema such as Tom cruise and not as someone who falls into the stereotypical roles that are attributed to their color.
“I have always avoided making films about slavery”said Will Smith in an interview with GQ. “In the early stage of my career… I didn’t want to show black people that way. I wanted to be a superhero. So I wanted to represent black excellence alongside my white counterparts. I wanted to play the roles you would give Tom Cruise“, continues the actor. And of course he fulfilled his mission, since throughout the three decades that he has been acting, he has been seen in great blockbusters for which any heavyweight in Hollywood would fight to get.
Not only that, Will managed to become one of the few superstars capable of being synonymous with a box office magnet, like Tom Cruise, starring in films that went on to gross hundreds of millions of dollars. His name was a symbol of income for the studios and from the late 90s until recently, he was one of the main attractions for the international billboard. Something that mostly got white stars.
He began starring in recognized franchises such as Two rebel cops or Men in Black and 90s blockbusters like Independence day or Public Enemy, which was followed by his commitment to acclaimed academic films in the 2000s such as Ali or Looking for happiness, for which he was nominated for an Oscar. Plus, it’s always been tied to big-budget commercial hits like I robot, I’m legend or Hancock. Nothing to envy of a heavyweight like Tom Cruise. However, having reached the 2010s and having fulfilled his professional goal, Will Smith considered breaking his promise not to star in films that revolve around slavery.
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It was in Django unchained from Quentin Tarantino, a film that the acclaimed director of Pulp fiction or Kill bill offered to star before choosing Jamie foxx as its main actor. But despite his initial intention to join his star roster, Smith ultimately turned down the offer because the project didn’t fit his ideals. “I didn’t want to make a movie about slavery about revenge”, confessed the actor in his meeting with GQ.
“It was about the creative direction of the story. For me, it’s the most perfect story you could wish for: a guy who learns to kill to get his wife back who has been taken as a slave. That idea is perfect.”He also admitted in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in 2015. “I really wanted to do that movie, but I felt like the only way was that it had to be a love story, not a revenge story.”, clarified Smith.
But the opportunity to address a story of slavery with these characteristics now comes from the hand of Emancipation, the director’s new job Antoine fuqua (The Equalizer, Objetive the white house, The seven magnificents, …). It will be a drama based on true events, the story of a slave who undertakes a dangerous flight to the north of the United States to join the Union army during the Civil War. According to Smith, this production has the point of view that he wanted for Django unchained, since “It was about love and the power of black love” and about “How black love makes us invincible”.
Thus, after having managed to reach his peak as a star of major Hollywood productions, with Emancipation enters for the first time a type of paper that until recently had banned. The tape was bought by Apple in 2020 for the immense figure of 120 million dollars, with its premiere on the platform scheduled for next 2022, although it has not yet defined a date.
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