In what seems like generations ago, Will Smith was once Hollywood’s go-to leading man, with few being able to match his cultural stature thanks to appearances in the TV series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, as well as iconic film roles in Bad Boys, Independence Day and Men in Black.
Naturally, for such an iconic movie star with a busy annual schedule, Will Smith has starred in his fair share of filmmaking dross, from recent efforts such as After Earth, Bright and Focus to pre-Millenium flicks such as Wild Wild West and Made in America. In a recent conversation with GQ, however, Smith was asked by a social media user, “In your opinion, what is the worst and best movie of Will Smith?” and responded with some surprising answers.
“For the best, I think it’s a tie between the first Men in Black and Pursuit of Happyness. For different reasons, those are the two almost-perfect movies,” Smith stated, before going on to address his more regrettable cinematic past. Continuing in his answer, the actor noted: “The worst? “I don’t know, Wild Wild West is a thorn in my side. To see myself in chaps… I don’t like it”.
What makes matters a little worse is that Will Smith turned down the role of Neo in the Wachowski sisters’ iconic science fiction classic The Matrix, in favour of appearing in Wild Wild West.
Currently filming Emancipation with director Antoine Fuqua, Smith plays a slave fleeing a plantation in Louisiana. Recently speaking in a separate interview with GQ, the actor has opened up about his reluctance to take on roles that tackle the history of slavery. Speaking to the magazine, the actor stated that he “didn’t want to show Black people in that light”.
Continuing, he added: “I’ve always avoided making films about slavery…In the early part of my career…I didn’t want to show Black people in that light. I wanted to be a superhero”.
Elaborating on his stance on such roles, Smith commented: “So I wanted to depict Black excellence alongside my white counterparts. I wanted to play roles that you would give to Tom Cruise”.
Check out the trailer below for Wild Wild West, the one film that Will Smith regrets taking on.