Guest Author - Tammy Cordani
In recent years, Will Smith has immerged as not only one of Hollywood’s hottest stars but one of its more versatile ones as well. Born in Pennsylvania on September 25, 1968, Will first rose to fame as part of the musical act DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince with fellow musician Jeff Townes. From there he would star in his own sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”. However, it would be on the big screen that Will Smith would become synonymous with action movies as well as Oscar caliber performances.
Will’s first movie role was in 1992’s “Where the Day Takes You” which starred Sean Astin, Dermot Mulroney and Laura San Giacomo. He also received critical acclaim for his role as Paul in the mystery/thriller “Six Degrees of Separation” (1993) which starred Stockard Channing. From there he would create in the action hero genre by starring in the action/buddy film “Bad Boys” (1995) as Detective Mike Lowrey opposite Martin Lawrence as Detective Marcus Burnett. They would reprise their roles in 2003’s “Bad Boys II” and received Best On-Screen Duo nominations both times at the MTV Movie Awards.
Will Smith’s status in action movies was sealed with the 1996 blockbuster Independence Day for which he won a Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Science Fiction actor. He would then star in another alien inspired film, “Men In Black” (1997) as Agent J to Tommy Lee Jones’ Agent K. This movie would spawn a 2002 sequel as well asn an “alien attack” ride at Universal Studios! 1997’s “Men in Black” garnered Will Smith two MTV Movie Awards (one for best fight and the other for best song) as well as an ASCAP award for most performed song from a motion picture. He would also try sci-fi/fantasy again with 1999’s “Wild Wild West” starring opposite Kevin Kline and Salma Hayek. However, the film gained notoriety when it received Razzies for Worst Picture and Worst Screen Couple.
Getting away from the sci-fi element, Will Smith found time to fight a corrupt politician in the action/thriller “Enemy of the State” (1998) with Gene Hackman and Jon Voight and the biographical film of boxing legend Muhammad Ali in “Ali” (2001). It was for his role in “Ali” that Will Smith received his first Oscar nomination. He would later try his hand at sci-fi again in the futuristic action thriller “I, Robot” (2004).
Besides action, Will Smith has also lent his voice to the animated film “Shark Tale” (2004), where he voiced the character of Oscar and starred in the hit comedy “Hitch” (2005). He received his second Oscar nomination for his role as Chris Gardner in the biopic drama “The Pursuit of Happyness” (2006).
Will Smith has several upcoming projects including a return to the big screen in the upcoming action/sci-fi “I Am Legend” where he plays Robert Neville, the last man on Earth after an outbreak of a strange virus. He’ll also play a questionable superhero in “Hancock” starring Jason Bateman and Charlize Theron that’s hitting theaters in July 2008.
Fun Fact: Will Smith was originally offered the role of Neo in the “Matrix” movies. He turned down the role which eventually went to Keanu Reeves.
Think you know your Will Smith movie characters? Try taking our Will Smith Movie Character Quiz!
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