In an appearance in the season finale of Hart to Heart, Kevin Hart sat down over some wine with his friend Will Smith, and the pair discussed Will’s global big-screen success.
Will explained that when his movie career was starting, studios were convinced a Black actor couldn’t find an international audience.
“That was like central in my career when I first went out. I hated hearing I can’t be in the movie [because]… Black actors weren’t gonna be able to cover the numbers,” he expressed.
Will explained he looked to Tom Cruise as a “blueprint” to how to market himself and his films overseas, saying, “Tom is unbeatable.”
Will admitted that after the global success of Independence Day, he nearly turned down Men In Black — the 1997 film that kicked off a blockbuster franchise.
Will credited his former manager James Lassiter, who steered him to a string of huge hits, like MiB and acclaimed performances. “He just had an eye,” Will said.
“I didn’t want to do Pursuit of Happyness, I didn’t wanna do Ali,” Smith admitted of two of his Oscar-nominated roles.
“I didn’t want to do two alien movies back-to-back,” he said of Men In Black.
However, “[Producer] Steven Spielberg sent a helicopter for me,” Will continued before Kevin countered with, “You’re a goddamn liar.”
“It landed at his house. He had me at ‘Hello,'” Will said.
He added, “He said the coldest s***. He said, ‘Tell me why you don’t wanna make my movie. And he put the ellipses at the end. It was the dot, dot, dot… If he had continued, he would have said, ‘Joker, you know I made Jaws, right? You know I made E.T.?'”
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