After an incredible successindependence Day in 1996, preceded by an appetizer from Bad Boysfilm career Will Smith was on the rise after already conquering the small screen with the legendary sitcom Willie, Prince of Bela–Air (The Prince of Beverly Hills).
But in the 90s a sci-fi blockbuster Roland Emmerich it wasn’t the only sci-fi feature film to hit the box office. Will Smith took part: next year together with Tommy Lee Joneswas also part of Men in Blackmovie Barry Sonnenfeld produced sony and from amblin From Steven Spielberg which grossed nearly $600 million on a budget of around $90 (figures apparently not updated for inflation).
But, as you know, initially Will Smith did not want to participate Men in Black because he didn’t think that being in two sci-fi films in a row wouldn’t be good for his career. But fortunately, his far-sighted former manager and longtime business partner, James Lassiter, looked after his interests. Kevin Hart guest on proposed Peacock Hart to Hart show, star explains Lassiter was real “judge of good taste” in the selection of films he would later make:
In my heyday, of the 10 films I made at the peak of my career, JL chose them. He just had an incredible eye for things like this: I didn’t want to do The Pursuit of Happyness, for example. I didn’t want to do Ali. And it was JL who chose Men in Black. In a way, I understood Men in Black, but I didn’t want to do it. I didn’t want to do two science fiction in a row.
Obviously, Will Smith explains, the job of persuading Steven Spielberg, the film’s producer, was extremely fundamental:
Steven Spielberg sent a helicopter for me. I was in New York. He wanted to talk to me. The helicopter landed at his house. I had it already goodbye. And that was the first time I had a lemonade soda. You can’t say no to something like that.
Then he says ironically:
He said something very cold. He asked me, “Tell me, explain to me why you don’t want to make my film.” He was a producer. And he put an ellipsis at the end of the sentence, period, period, period. If he had continued, he would have said, “You know, dear joker, I did Jaws, you know? I did ET.”
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SOURCE: via The Hollywood Reporter