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C'mon Hollywood: Time for Will Smith to step up his game!

Jun. 11, 2013by: Paul Shirey

Last week M. Night Shyamalan’s latest film, AFTER EARTH, debuted to $27 million, matching the opening gross of star Will Smith’s last sci-fi flop, WILD WILD WEST. Could the irony be any thicker? For Smith, it’s been a while since he’s sunk that low, especially in the summer season sci-fi genre. Of course, it’s been a while since Smith has done anything really remarkable to begin with. Last summer he phoned it in for MEN IN BLACK III, which wasn’t a complete bust financially (it still made less than the first two overall), but wasn’t exactly reinvigorating to his career.

Smith took a long hiatus between 2008 and 2012, emerging back on the scene with the safe MEN IN BLACK sequel and then leaped into AFTER EARTH, bringing his son, Jaden, into the mix, much to the chagrin of audiences everywhere. It’s not the sounding call of a return to form for the actor, who has demonstrated some true skill, charisma, and presence in his better films. Ultimately, Smith has played it safe, with a few deviations into rockier territory in films like SEVEN POUNDS, THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS, and THE LEGEND OF BAGGER VANCE, making the actor look like he may be losing his touch with not only audiences, but the craft as well.

The most notorious and unsettling story of Smith’s troubles came when he declined the lead role in Quentin Tarantino’s DJANGO UNCHAINED. Just because Tarantino offers you a role doesn’t mean that you should fall to your knees and gratefully accept, but I think the issue with Smith’s refusal is that it would’ve done something great for his career. Having seen the finished film with Jamie Foxx in the lead, one can only imagine Smith taking on the role, which is far more challenging and controversial than anything Smith has played throughout his long career. Whether one thinks he would’ve handled it as well, worse, or better than Foxx is irrelevant, because the most important aspect is that it would’ve changed Smith as an actor, most likely for the better.

“Django wasn’t the lead, so it was like, I need to be the lead. The other character was the lead!” was what Smith told Entertainment Weekly. He says a lot about his perception of himself as an actor and about the kind of career he chases in that statement, neither of which do him any favors.  Smith, it seems, has been too busy building a career out of a paradigm, rather than out of his passion for the work. Instead of choosing projects that challenge him, change him, or alter his image in any way, he has instead chosen to play some variation of the same role over and over again; himself. Will Smith as shady superhero (HANCOCK). Will Smith as gun-toting scientist (I AM LEGEND). Will Smith as futuristic cop (I, ROBOT). Will Smith as…Will Smith (HITCH).

The same could be said about Tom Cruise, who has made a string of films that follow a very similar model. However, Cruise has a much better track record (the best, in fact) and typically chooses to work with the industry’s finest, whereas Smith is nowhere near as keen. While Smith has dabbled in dramatic fare, he’s never delivered anything as powerful as Cruise’s Ron Kovic in BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY or JERRY MAGUIRE or Frank T.J. Mackie in MAGNOLIA. I compare these two actors, because of their reputation as box office draws and tendency to bank on themselves more so than the role at hand. Where as Cruise has had tremendous success with his model, Smith has been spotty at best, with his breakout film, INDEPENDENCE DAY, still being his most successful.  While Smith has most certainly had a rewarding career, he has remained relatively safe in his choices, never meandering far from the reservation, which has left audiences with bland expectations.  

Since the tanking of AFTER EARTH, even Smith has started to see the light, saying in a press interview, "It's been an absolute necessity that the movie be a blockbuster, but I think I'm going to start moving out of that and finding more danger in my artistic choices." So, does that mean we’ll finally see the actor take on the roles he’s capable of? One can only hope. Smith has a number of projects lined up, including the con man pic FOCUS, the Hurricane Katrina drama AMERICAN CAN, the assassin thriller THE ACCOUNTANT, and the currently filming WINTER’S TALE for Akiva Goldsman.

While some of those may give Smith some potentially challenging roles, the bottom line is that he needs to start choosing projects that scare him and challenge his audience’s perception of who he is and what he has to offer. There’s plenty of room for blockbusters and meaty roles, but having too much of one without the other has made Smith an easy to dismiss niche actor devoid of surprises. It’s time to break away from the formulaic, CGI-infused world of blockbuster hyperbole and jump into roles that push him out of the nest and into a realm where he can seize his full potential.

Extra Tidbit: Let's hear your advice for who Smith should work with and the kinds of roles he should be chasing. I think it's time for him to hook up with the likes of Ridley Scott, Daren Aronofsky, Steven Spielberg, PT Anderson, David Ayer, or Nicolas Winding Refn for starters.
Source: JoBlo.com

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+10
10:32AM on 06/11/2013
will smith in a 'training day' or 'collateral' role would be great the question is would ever even cross his mind
will smith in a 'training day' or 'collateral' role would be great the question is would ever even cross his mind
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10:32AM on 06/11/2013
You said yourself in the first sentence of this article that his last flop was Wild Wild West which was 14 years ago. The guy has 2 flops in 14 years and we're ready to write him off?

And because he turned down Tarantino doesn't mean anything. Just because fanboy nerds like him doesn't mean actors shouldnt turn him down because they don't like the part. Maybe Smith met with Qt and QT started his fake jive-talking that always makes him sound like an idiot and Smith said that working
You said yourself in the first sentence of this article that his last flop was Wild Wild West which was 14 years ago. The guy has 2 flops in 14 years and we're ready to write him off?

And because he turned down Tarantino doesn't mean anything. Just because fanboy nerds like him doesn't mean actors shouldnt turn him down because they don't like the part. Maybe Smith met with Qt and QT started his fake jive-talking that always makes him sound like an idiot and Smith said that working relationship wasn't going to cut it. And they're both control freaks, so it couldve spelled disaster. Anyone think of that and maybe wanna give kudos to Smith for avoiding that mess?

Plus, Will Smith has always been a bit more family-oriented (not much cussing in his music, pg-13 blockbusters) and it's worked for him so far. Playing it safe? Maybe, but if it's worked for him his whole life, why change it because of a few speed bumps?
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2:01PM on 06/12/2013
I'm not bashing Tarantino, nor am I bringing it up just to bring it up. There's a photoshopped picture and a two paragraph discussion in this article about Tarantino's Django Unchained and I'm just responding to it, so don't say I'm the one who keeps bringing it up. And As I stated, Im the one who'd like to hear an explanation without a reference to Django
I'm not bashing Tarantino, nor am I bringing it up just to bring it up. There's a photoshopped picture and a two paragraph discussion in this article about Tarantino's Django Unchained and I'm just responding to it, so don't say I'm the one who keeps bringing it up. And As I stated, Im the one who'd like to hear an explanation without a reference to Django
12:06PM on 06/12/2013
Dude, how many times does he have to say it; it is NOT about Smith turning down Tarantino. It isn't even specifically about the Django role, it's about him doing 90% generic Will Smith as... roles than layered performances like Ali, Pursuit of Happyness OR Django Unchained.
It's cool that you disagree (hell, even I don't agree a 100%) but the fact that you keep bringing up Tarantino and bashing him makes it kind of evident that it's not Shirey who's a "a bitter QT fan" but that you're a bitter
Dude, how many times does he have to say it; it is NOT about Smith turning down Tarantino. It isn't even specifically about the Django role, it's about him doing 90% generic Will Smith as... roles than layered performances like Ali, Pursuit of Happyness OR Django Unchained.
It's cool that you disagree (hell, even I don't agree a 100%) but the fact that you keep bringing up Tarantino and bashing him makes it kind of evident that it's not Shirey who's a "a bitter QT fan" but that you're a bitter QT hater. Forget Tarantino for a second, we're talking about Smith here.
9:26PM on 06/11/2013
I don't see that he's settled in to a paradigm. He played a calm, low toned, smart scientist in IAL, a badass cop in I, Robot, a desperate father in Pursuit, and portrayed a perfect Ali. Sure he has his loud mouthed, funny go-to character, which is the same in hitch, MIB, Hancock, and ID4, but I cant think of an actor (other that Day Lewis) that doesnt have their own go-to character.

Im sorry Paul, but with all due respect, it sounds like you're one of the bitter QT fans that spites Will
I don't see that he's settled in to a paradigm. He played a calm, low toned, smart scientist in IAL, a badass cop in I, Robot, a desperate father in Pursuit, and portrayed a perfect Ali. Sure he has his loud mouthed, funny go-to character, which is the same in hitch, MIB, Hancock, and ID4, but I cant think of an actor (other that Day Lewis) that doesnt have their own go-to character.

Im sorry Paul, but with all due respect, it sounds like you're one of the bitter QT fans that spites Will Smith for turning down DU, which - as I said - would have been a clash of egos between Smith and QT and led to potential production problems. You have two paragraphs ranting about turning down one role - in an article that comes out 1 week after the role he did instead becomes a flop, financially and critically - almost as if you'd been waiting for the final result before rubbing his face in it with a told-you-so article, much like the fanboys over on Smith's movie jail article.

Will Smith doesnt need a big name director. One every now and then would be great, and Im sure that those will easily come, should he choose, but almost all the movies listed in this article would have been forgettable had it not been for Smith. And M. Night has gotten Wahlberg, Giammati, Brody, Gibson for his last few crapfests. Why is it all of a sudden a wake up call for Smith? I'd like to hear an explanation that doesn't involve a Django reference.
11:36AM on 06/11/2013
The point isn't about his financial success. The point is that he's settled into a paradigm, no matter the genre he's working in and that's just fine if you're a huge fan and enjoy seeing him in the same types of roles over and over again with some subtle change to make it seem different.

It works for Adam Sandler, so why not?

Personally, I think Will Smith has more to offer, but by staying in the same gear he's spinning his wheels and even he has addressed that ("It's been an absolute
The point isn't about his financial success. The point is that he's settled into a paradigm, no matter the genre he's working in and that's just fine if you're a huge fan and enjoy seeing him in the same types of roles over and over again with some subtle change to make it seem different.

It works for Adam Sandler, so why not?

Personally, I think Will Smith has more to offer, but by staying in the same gear he's spinning his wheels and even he has addressed that ("It's been an absolute necessity that the movie be a blockbuster, but I think I'm going to start moving out of that and finding more danger in my artistic choices.").

Not doing Django Unchained isn't about saying no to Tarantino, it's about saying no to an opportunity to stretch and challenge himself in a role that would've done leagues for his career as a serious actor, rather than his career as "Will Smith."
11:08AM on 06/11/2013
I agree. If QT asked Schmoes to roll in shit so he could record it with his iphone, most of them would do it with a smile on their face and then berate the rest for passing up on such a great opportunity.
I agree. If QT asked Schmoes to roll in shit so he could record it with his iphone, most of them would do it with a smile on their face and then berate the rest for passing up on such a great opportunity.
10:54AM on 06/11/2013
Nailed it! Couldn't agree with you more.
Nailed it! Couldn't agree with you more.
10:35AM on 06/11/2013
Not that Smith should step up his game, he needs to decrease the size of his Ego. Just that reason of not being the lead made him turned down Django shows the size of his ego. Smith should try smaller roles or even supporting roles to get his fame back. Extra tidbit: I'd say Refn. Smith should learn a thing or two from him.
Not that Smith should step up his game, he needs to decrease the size of his Ego. Just that reason of not being the lead made him turned down Django shows the size of his ego. Smith should try smaller roles or even supporting roles to get his fame back. Extra tidbit: I'd say Refn. Smith should learn a thing or two from him.
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+7
10:53AM on 06/11/2013
Dude seems to have a huge ego, and it appears to be inflating by channeling it through his kids by trying to make them stars.

I don't hate the guy, and he seems genuinely nice, but him being the lead in a movie never really was a draw to me. He only does one film every couple of years and it has to be a blockbuster star vehicle. Honestly since I don't care for his work I don't mind if he keeps doing his thing or actually uses his status to pursue more interesting projects that don't
Dude seems to have a huge ego, and it appears to be inflating by channeling it through his kids by trying to make them stars.

I don't hate the guy, and he seems genuinely nice, but him being the lead in a movie never really was a draw to me. He only does one film every couple of years and it has to be a blockbuster star vehicle. Honestly since I don't care for his work I don't mind if he keeps doing his thing or actually uses his status to pursue more interesting projects that don't necessary mean he's the star.
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+10
10:59AM on 06/11/2013
I think people are coming down a little too hard on Will Smith. In your article you state he's only had two flops his entire career. Not exactly a failure at all, just happens that After Earth is the most recent. I think people are ready to write him off because he's so bankable, everyone always hates the popular guy. He's by no means a bad actor, sure he sticks to the same framework for his roles and movie genres but I think that's more beacuse of audiences than anything else. He's been
I think people are coming down a little too hard on Will Smith. In your article you state he's only had two flops his entire career. Not exactly a failure at all, just happens that After Earth is the most recent. I think people are ready to write him off because he's so bankable, everyone always hates the popular guy. He's by no means a bad actor, sure he sticks to the same framework for his roles and movie genres but I think that's more beacuse of audiences than anything else. He's been in a few dramatic roles and a few comedic ones as well, yet everyone shits all over him for trying to do something new with Hitch and people completely disregard his great performances in Ali and Pursuit of Happyness (my two favourite Will Smith movies), if I were him I'd stick with what I know to work as well. So yes, it would have been great for him to be in Django, but he wasn't, who cares? It's not the end of the world. I would love for him to be in a Ridley Scott, Spielberg, or PT Anderson movie, but it probably won't happen. I don't think that means he's lost all his talent or his edge. I think his biggest problem right now is he needs to get back to focusing on his career rather than trying to make his kids stars, because those two brats do not have star potential.
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11:03AM on 06/11/2013
Smith's had a stellar career and I respect the choices he's made. The formula he's following is working for the most part, despite a couple hiccups.
Smith's had a stellar career and I respect the choices he's made. The formula he's following is working for the most part, despite a couple hiccups.
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11:08AM on 06/11/2013
Will Smith chooses roles based on his ego. All evident in the statement “Django wasn’t the lead, so it was like, I need to be the lead. I completely disagree with you on the statement of Tom Cruise. Cruise has had a varied portfolio of work and doesn't always take on the 'LEAD' role and is by far a better actor. Like you said Will Smith acts like Will Smith but in different genres.
Will Smith chooses roles based on his ego. All evident in the statement “Django wasn’t the lead, so it was like, I need to be the lead. I completely disagree with you on the statement of Tom Cruise. Cruise has had a varied portfolio of work and doesn't always take on the 'LEAD' role and is by far a better actor. Like you said Will Smith acts like Will Smith but in different genres.
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+0
11:17AM on 06/11/2013

Bored

Who cares about Will Smith, between forcing his son upon us in every new movie he is in and basically just showing up for a paycheck in his last few films. There are more dynamic and amazing actors to watch on film. And I don't understand the love for Pursuit of Happyness, one of the few films I have fallen asleep in. Will Smith turns down many roles if they don't serve to boost his inflated ego, Just think how upset Smith would have been if he had taken the Django role and then had to
Who cares about Will Smith, between forcing his son upon us in every new movie he is in and basically just showing up for a paycheck in his last few films. There are more dynamic and amazing actors to watch on film. And I don't understand the love for Pursuit of Happyness, one of the few films I have fallen asleep in. Will Smith turns down many roles if they don't serve to boost his inflated ego, Just think how upset Smith would have been if he had taken the Django role and then had to listen about how amazing Waltz performance was, he would get the look on his face like someone wiped poo under his nose. Moving on to better actors and actresses
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11:22AM on 06/11/2013
Honestly I think this article should've come before the Movie-jail column. I'm personally over him passing on Django, though when he finally came out about his reasons, that was the real blow. His success isn't some fluke in my opinion. Thinking back to Bad Boys, Martin Lawrence was a much bigger name at the time the first one came out. It was an opportunity to see two of the most popular black sitcom stars in a Lethal Weapon-type movie. But coming out of the theater, I'l bet most people were
Honestly I think this article should've come before the Movie-jail column. I'm personally over him passing on Django, though when he finally came out about his reasons, that was the real blow. His success isn't some fluke in my opinion. Thinking back to Bad Boys, Martin Lawrence was a much bigger name at the time the first one came out. It was an opportunity to see two of the most popular black sitcom stars in a Lethal Weapon-type movie. But coming out of the theater, I'l bet most people were struck with how much Will Smith wound up dominating the movie. Mike Lowry was not the Fresh Prince we knew from television. And he parlayed a sort of fusion of those roles into a series of successful (and one or two not so much) roles well into the oughts. Playing it safe has been his secret weapon as he climbed to the top of the movie star pile. Protecting his brand maybe would mean an easy route to getting his kids success. But it doesn't work that way. Nepotism success stories are based in the kids finding their own way. It didn't hurt Jamie Lee Curtis to be the daughter of Janet Leigh when she got cast in Halloween, but she ultimately had to sell herself.

When actors take risks, what they lose in box-office they can make up in respect. Losing money on a safe project, there's no glory there (although, being directed by M. Night Shyamalan might not equal safe, either). Smith may not be the next Brando, or even one ofmy favorite actors, but he's one of the most charismatic performers of my generation. I don't necessarily see Aronofsky or Refn as likely directing candidates, but if he can put this trust in a good director, and not try to micromanage too much, I think he could still surprise us.
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11:24AM on 06/11/2013

Another point

Will Smith has done comedy, action, drama, a little bit of horror, and sci fi. How is that considered 'playing it safe'?
Will Smith has done comedy, action, drama, a little bit of horror, and sci fi. How is that considered 'playing it safe'?
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11:25AM on 06/11/2013
He's given in to nepotism. I think if he didn't foist his kids on the public, he could still ride on the goodwill from his Fresh Prince days. I actually thought Jaden Smith was alright in The Karate Kid, but After Earth isn't earning the Smith family any points. He's not a bad actor and it's commendable that he's been able to progress into the A-list from his rapping and TV days, but I guess his goofy "Big Willy" persona can be kind of grating. It would be great for him to do another Ali, just
He's given in to nepotism. I think if he didn't foist his kids on the public, he could still ride on the goodwill from his Fresh Prince days. I actually thought Jaden Smith was alright in The Karate Kid, but After Earth isn't earning the Smith family any points. He's not a bad actor and it's commendable that he's been able to progress into the A-list from his rapping and TV days, but I guess his goofy "Big Willy" persona can be kind of grating. It would be great for him to do another Ali, just not an Oscar grab like Seven Pounds.
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1:07PM on 06/11/2013

Only Three Things Have Really Hurt Will Smith

1. Turning down "Django Unchained"
2. Later saying that he turned it down because "he wasn't the lead"
3. Being in a movie that was basically created to make his son a star

Had none of those things happened, nobody would have a problem with him. No, he doesn't do a lot of daring or "dangerous" roles, but most superstars don't. Tom Cruise has been incredibly versatile in his choices, but they'll all been under the "Hollywood" umbrella. It's not like he's out doing $1-5 million indies or
1. Turning down "Django Unchained"
2. Later saying that he turned it down because "he wasn't the lead"
3. Being in a movie that was basically created to make his son a star

Had none of those things happened, nobody would have a problem with him. No, he doesn't do a lot of daring or "dangerous" roles, but most superstars don't. Tom Cruise has been incredibly versatile in his choices, but they'll all been under the "Hollywood" umbrella. It's not like he's out doing $1-5 million indies or anything. The only star actor I can think of right now who is doing both commercial movies and tiny indies is Ryan Gosling. So if you guys expect Will Smith to be more like that, that's probably not realistic.

Plus, Smith was great in I Am Legend. After Seven Pounds, he took a long break, and has only done two movies since (MIB 3 was successful, but After Earth wasn't). I understand this article is not so much about his abilities. In fact, I think people have this issue in the first place BECAUSE he is so talented. If he sucked, nobody would care. But because he has so much ability and untapped potential, they don't like to see him going in such a different route.

But I do think he will slowly start to try different things. Hell, I'd argue that Seven Pounds was quite a departure.
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2:19PM on 06/11/2013
I think its funny that people say that they are hating on him because of a couple of choices. But i cant think of any film by him that would ever be considered a classic in movie making. I think the problem is , is that the Smith family sees itself as a product and it tries to force that product on the world. With no real care for the art.
I think its funny that people say that they are hating on him because of a couple of choices. But i cant think of any film by him that would ever be considered a classic in movie making. I think the problem is , is that the Smith family sees itself as a product and it tries to force that product on the world. With no real care for the art.
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2:36PM on 06/11/2013

URGH! ENOUGH WITH THE DJANGO TALK!!

Holy f**kballs! Are people still butt-hurt by Will's refusal?!? LET IT GO! If you really want to know the real reason he turned down that role it has nothing to with that bull$#!@ press statement. Oh, he wasn't the lead character? C'mon the role is the f*cking title-character, it doesn't get more straight forward than that!!
This article claims that role it would have been a turning point for Will's career for the better, well I totally disagree.
For the turning point you'd have to go back
Holy f**kballs! Are people still butt-hurt by Will's refusal?!? LET IT GO! If you really want to know the real reason he turned down that role it has nothing to with that bull$#!@ press statement. Oh, he wasn't the lead character? C'mon the role is the f*cking title-character, it doesn't get more straight forward than that!!
This article claims that role it would have been a turning point for Will's career for the better, well I totally disagree.
For the turning point you'd have to go back many years ago when Steven Spielberg offered him a part in Amistad which he declined. Why, you ask? Will thought he was too much of a 'pretty-boy' to do it. In short Will doesnt play anything to do with slaves! There I said it! Call me a conspiracy nutter but that was his reasoning (paraphrased off course) because "heroics" are much more cooler.
Concerning his career right now, he's reached a saturation point and needs more lowkey roles or stunt-casting.
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3:31PM on 06/11/2013

"Played it safe"??

Will's resume is very diverse, he's even played a gay guy. I don't know what on earth everyone is talking about. And him in the Movie Jail column is a fucking joke. You guys are just still upset he turned down Django. Proof is in this sentence, "Having seen the finished film with Jamie Foxx in the lead, one can only imagine Smith taking on the rolef" Actors turn down roles all the time... shit happens.
Will's resume is very diverse, he's even played a gay guy. I don't know what on earth everyone is talking about. And him in the Movie Jail column is a fucking joke. You guys are just still upset he turned down Django. Proof is in this sentence, "Having seen the finished film with Jamie Foxx in the lead, one can only imagine Smith taking on the rolef" Actors turn down roles all the time... shit happens.
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5:39PM on 06/11/2013
The only person who can save Will SMith's career is Will Smith. Stop exploiting your damn kids & get your shit together. He turned down some major roles & it's not like he is getting any younger. This is the first C'Mon Hollywood article to focus on simply an actor & it's not on Hollywood this time.

Poor job of comparing Tom Cruise also because Cruise has never been about ego & has no problem giving others credit when it's due.
The only person who can save Will SMith's career is Will Smith. Stop exploiting your damn kids & get your shit together. He turned down some major roles & it's not like he is getting any younger. This is the first C'Mon Hollywood article to focus on simply an actor & it's not on Hollywood this time.

Poor job of comparing Tom Cruise also because Cruise has never been about ego & has no problem giving others credit when it's due.
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10:57PM on 06/11/2013

A bit overstated but I agree with the overall idea

I think with the long break he took and the focus he has put on his kids, Jayden in particular, have made this argument more obvious and a bit overblown. That being said if you look at his filmography you can't help but see some waisted potential looking at the huge potential he showed in the first half of his career with films like Independence Day, MIB, Legend of Bagger Vance, and Ali compared to the latter half. I think in particular you look at his role in Bagger Vance and wish he would do
I think with the long break he took and the focus he has put on his kids, Jayden in particular, have made this argument more obvious and a bit overblown. That being said if you look at his filmography you can't help but see some waisted potential looking at the huge potential he showed in the first half of his career with films like Independence Day, MIB, Legend of Bagger Vance, and Ali compared to the latter half. I think in particular you look at his role in Bagger Vance and wish he would do more roles of that kind of nature. The role was quirky and awesome and a big part of what made that movie without being a lead role. Going with the author's comparison to Cruise show the ability to not take yourself so seriously. Cruise's role in Tropic Thunder while a bit part was utterly fantastic and his role in Rock of Ages was also a big jump from his normal wheelhouse. So yea I definitely think Smith has plenty of untapped potential but it's not as big a deal as this article implies.
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11:18PM on 06/11/2013
Some think that Smith turning down Tarantino 'hurt' his career as if Quentin Tarantino is the end-all-be-all of cinema. (He's not).

Denzel Washington worked with the Scott brothers (Ridley and Tony) and was able to create some diverse work (some successful and not so successful). Of course, Washington was able to do some strong work with Spike Lee in 'Malcolm X' and 'Inside Man'....

Smith tends to bring his 'Will-isms' in his roles, and a director would need to take him further, outside
Some think that Smith turning down Tarantino 'hurt' his career as if Quentin Tarantino is the end-all-be-all of cinema. (He's not).

Denzel Washington worked with the Scott brothers (Ridley and Tony) and was able to create some diverse work (some successful and not so successful). Of course, Washington was able to do some strong work with Spike Lee in 'Malcolm X' and 'Inside Man'....

Smith tends to bring his 'Will-isms' in his roles, and a director would need to take him further, outside his comfort zone. Of course, the script has to be solid. Smith already did this with the director - I forget his name - in Pursuit of Happyness and Seven Pounds, the latter being unsuccessful because the script didn't seem to be strong. (I haven't seen the film, I've seen reviews).

Smith can work with Spike Lee (who is hit-or-miss, but good when he has strong scripts) and Darren Aronofsky. Maybe Spielberg (who is also hit-or-miss, but is also good when his scripts are good) and/or maybe Scorsese....or Chris Nolan...or Clint Eastwood.

It also comes down to choice. Smith is producing his own stuff, so he needs want to push himself and seek out those strong directors, and strong scripts that will take him further than what he's used to.
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10:38AM on 06/12/2013
Did Will Smith once say he modeled his career after Tom Cruise? I guess he failed to take into consideration, that you need to take chances every now and again, to keep yourself interesting to your audience.
Did Will Smith once say he modeled his career after Tom Cruise? I guess he failed to take into consideration, that you need to take chances every now and again, to keep yourself interesting to your audience.
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1:20PM on 06/12/2013

What?

Umm...Smith doesn't play his usual self in Hancock or I Am Legend. The latter is actually one of his best and most nuanced performances. All of you internet people are also conveniently forgetting about Ali. Anyways, I agree that he needs to make better choices after MiB3 and After Earth, but these articles are acting like this has been going on for a while. No, I Am Legend and Hancock were huge hits and they weren't bad movies either. And he did stretch in the both of them.
Umm...Smith doesn't play his usual self in Hancock or I Am Legend. The latter is actually one of his best and most nuanced performances. All of you internet people are also conveniently forgetting about Ali. Anyways, I agree that he needs to make better choices after MiB3 and After Earth, but these articles are acting like this has been going on for a while. No, I Am Legend and Hancock were huge hits and they weren't bad movies either. And he did stretch in the both of them.
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