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Will Smith Actor Music Artist Star

Will Smith, co-star of the "Hitch" Movie!

Although he initially became famous as a rapper, Will Smith went on to prove his acting talents in both television and films, eventually winning a reputation as an entertainer who could easily cross back and forth between musician and actor. In the process, he became one of the most successful entertainers -- African-American or otherwise -- in the American popular consciousness of the 1990s. A native of Philadelphia, Smith was born on September 25, 1968. The son of middle-class parents (his father owned a refrigeration company and his mother worked for the school board) and the second of four children, he earned the nickname "Prince" thanks to his ability to talk himself out of trouble. The nickname became part of his popular persona when, with fellow rapper Jeff Townes, Smith (who had been rapping since the age of 12) formed the duo DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince. Smith found fame as a rapper, producing two platinum albums and winning a Grammy for He's the DJ, I'm the Rapper.

However, by the time he was 18, Smith had squandered much of his fortune and was in debt to the IRS. Help came in the form of Warner Bros. executive Benny Medina, who wanted to create a TV show based on his own experiences as a poor kid living with a rich Beverly Hills family. The result was The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, a popular sitcom that gave Smith -- who had turned down an M.I.T. scholarship to pursue his career -- even greater fame as the show's protagonist. During the show's six-year run, Smith began to branch out toward film work. Following roles in Where the Day Takes You (1992) and Made in America (1993), he scored critical approval as a young, gay con man pretending to be Sidney Poitier's son in Six Degrees of Separation (1993). He also scored a decent helping of controversy, thanks to remarks he made in an interview that were perceived as homophobic. Two years later, Smith found his first major commercial success alongside Martin Lawrence in the action flick Bad Boys. The following year, he topped that with a turn in the sci-fi smash Independence Day, which was one of the year's biggest moneymakers.

Extraterrestrial life forms proved to be a profitable subject for Smith, as he went on to make a similarly gargantuan amount of money playing a secret agent tracking down aliens with Tommy Lee Jones in Men in Black (1997). The film turned out to be a lucrative enterprise for him off the screen as well, as his theme-song single also became a hit. Its success inspired him to begin rapping again, and that same year he released Big Willie Style. Smith also found success on a more personal front, as he married actress Jada Pinkett on New Year's Eve. In 1998, the actor starred in Enemy of the State, a conspiracy thriller, also starring Gene Hackman, that had him on the run from government agents. The film was a commercial success and the next year Smith starred in Wild Wild West. As the film's titular 19th century lawman hero, Smith was part of a project that was widely dismissed by critics and failed to make back its high costs. However, his theme-song single provided another hit for the actor/musician.

Following a moderate success with his role as a mysterious golf caddy who tutors down-on-his-luck putter Matt Damon in The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000), Smith next pumped up for his most demanding role to date. With his Oscar-nominated turn as legendary boxer Muhammad Ali in director Michael Mann's Ali, Smith faced heretofore unprecedented scrutiny that his previous, notably lighter roles had not faced. Though some critics pointed out that Smith's acting abilities shined through Mann's sometimes lamentably restrained style, Ali opened strongly with much praise going to Smith's well-studied performance. Next serving as Executive Producer for the Robert DeNiro/Eddie Murphy comedy Showtime (2002), Smith came back in black later that same year for the sci-fi comedy sequel Men in Black II.

Having recently fought off alien invaders in Men In Black 2, and set to combat murderous robots this summer in I, Robot, Will Smith is probably long overdue a holiday someplace exotic – in the jungle, say, or in the fresh air of Greenland. No doubt with that in mind, the former Fresh Prince has signed on for a biopic of Dr S. Allen Counter, a Harvard neuroscience professor and professional explorer who has worked in the Arctic, the Andes, the Amazon and Egypt.

The film is described as "an adventure romance based on Counter's explorations" which confirms our immediate suspicion that the focus of the story will not be on Dr Counter winning his truly awe-inspiring list of qualifications.

There is no word yet as to when filming is expected to begin, but given Will Smith's busy schedule that is hardly a surprise. As well as beginning promotional duties for I, Robot, Will is still finishing voice work as the central character in Shark Tale and is filming The Last First Kiss, where he plays a matchmaker who must pair off an undercover journalist intent on exposing him as a fraud. Something of a change of pace for the man who spent his last film demolishing most of Miami, but we're sure Smith can pull it off.

Are you happy? Really happy? Well, probably not, but that’s understandable seeing as there’s another full day till the weekend and you’re likely stuck at work. Happiness is a funny old thing though; to some people it’s a glass of pinot noir and some good company, to others it’s sitting down in front of Desperate Housewives with a tub of Karamel-Sutra. To Will Smith though, it’s probably a cheque for $20 million each time he makes a movie. Not that any man routinely connected to the phrase ‘Big Willie Style’ could have much to complain about. Happiness is, in fact, the subject of Smith’s new film. More specifically the Pursuit of Happiness in the true-life story of rags-to-riches broker Chris Garner.

Hitherto known only as The Untitled Chris Garner Project - not the key to international box office success - Pursuit of Happiness is the story of a man overcoming the odds after becoming homeless at the age of 30 and living, with his baby son, in the public loos at San Francisco train station. The tenacious chap didn’t give up though and finally managed to secure a job as a broker, rising through the ranks to become a self-made millionaire.

Sacks of cash, it would appear, are the secret to everlasting smiles. Not that we at Empire would know, seeing as we work the livelong day for nought but a marmite sandwich and some smokey bacon crisps. They’re nice crisps, mind. They come in a bag and everything.

 

Hitch Star Will Smith Hands Out Love Tips

SMITH DISHES OUT COMEDY TIPS TO LURE WOMEN

Rapper WILL SMITH used to rely on his quick-fire humour to seduce women - until he became a film star and his muscular physique started to arouse lusty female fans.

Smith first had a taste of box office glory with 1995 blockbuster BAD BOYS, and was amazed women swooned over his smoldering screen presence.
He says, "Until Bad Boys nobody looked at me. I watched it at the cinema and during the scene where my shirt's undone I heard this woman go, 'Mmmm.' I was like, 'Wow, she wants to do it with me!'

"Before, I'd only attracted women with comedy. If you can make a woman laugh, their underwear tends to get looser."

Will Smith missed kiss with Diaz due to race!

Hollywood star Will Smith has claimed that he was prevented from kissing co-star Cameron Diaz on screen, due to racial prejudices.

The actor said that Hollywood still believes that people have problems with a black man and white woman getting intimate and so there were no love scenes between him and Diaz in their movie 'Hitch'.

Hollywood is nervous about a black man kissing a white woman on screen. "That becomes massive news in the US. Outside America, it's no big deal. But in the US, it's still a racial issue," the actor was quoted by Femalefirst, as saying.

Ironically, Hollywood is happy to do it if the film is about racism. But they won't simply do it and ignore it," he added.

World record breaker Will Smith

Will Smith broke the world record yesterday (22.02.05) for the number of premieres attended by a celebrity in one day.

The Hollywood superstar jetted across Britain in a bid to make three red-carpet screenings of his new film 'Hitch' - starting in Manchester, before flying to London, then Birmingham.

The 38-year-old actor will now be noted in the Guinness Book of Records for achieving the greatest number of public appearances in just 12 hours.

At each stop, Will - dressed casually in a camel coat, jeans and leather cap - was greeted by hundreds of screaming fans.
The 'Men In Black' star, who was joined by his 'Hitch' co-stars Eva Mendes and Amber Valletta, also stopped to sign autographs and pose for photos.

On arriving at snowy London's Leicester Square, he said: "I've had a beautiful day. They got me in the Guinness Book of World Records - I like that! It's kind of cool.

"I love being able to meet my fans. It's the reason I do what I do. The reaction from people has been great, and I'm so grateful they came out to see me in the snow."

In the romantic comedy, Smith plays a New York date doctor who helps men woo the women of their dreams.

The film shot straight to the top of the US box office charts and is released in the UK on March 11.

Will Smith to host AIDS awareness concert

Annie Lennox, Brian May and India.arie will perform at Nelson Mandela's next concert to raise awareness about the AIDS pandemic.

The March 19 event in the Eastern Cape city of George, to be hosted by actor Will Smith, will highlight the plight of women and girls, who are six times more likely than men to become infected here, Mandela said Thursday.

May and Roger Taylor of Queen will collaborate with Bad Company's Paul Rodgers.

"We do not treat our women with enough dignity and respect," Mandela said. "We must mobilize to act, and act soon, before it is too late."

Since stepping down as South Africa's first black president in 1999, Mandela has championed the cause of AIDS victims, especially in Africa where about 25 million of the world's 40 million HIV-infected people live.
While organizers are still recovering the cost of the first concert held in Cape Town in November 2003 through CD and DVD sales, they hope this year's more modest event will raise funds for AIDS charities in South Africa.

Mandela's eldest son recently died of an AIDS-related illness.

Will Smith Proves He's a Knock-Out Kisser

Hollywood hunk Will Smith is a knock-out kisser. He proved it in Berlin Friday when he jumped from the stage during a raucous press conference, lowered a stunned journalist to the floor and embraced her.

In town to promote his hit romantic comedy "Hitch," in which he plays a "date doctor" who gets even mediocre men the women of their dreams, Smith said had not always been so successful in love.

"I desperately needed a date doctor in high school," said the 36-year-old funnyman.

He recalled an experience at school when, after a year of unrequited love, he finally called out to the girl of his dreams in a packed assembly hall.

"I screamed to her across the room, 'Hey Charlene, how you feeling?', and back across the room she screamed, 'Too good for you!' It was horrible," he said.

"So about eight years later I started talking to women again. I was trying to get married as quickly as possible."

Smith, who is married with children, jokingly described his loveless late teens as "hell."

"I was not anybody's first choice. I was skinny, my ears kind of stick out a little bit."

But the A-list star, better known for action flicks such as "Independence Day" and "Men in Black," can have few complaints today.

He proved his box office appeal once again with "Hitch," which has enjoyed a record opening in North America for a romantic comedy, according to studio estimates. The film sold $45.3 million worth of tickets in its first three days.

Smith was asked in Berlin whether he had slept with his "Hitch" co-star Eva Mendes.

Instead of replying, he mumbled "I know what she needs, I know what she needs," referring to the reporter.

He leapt down to the audience of journalists, grabbed the questioner, and as he kissed her lowered her to the floor.

The lucky lady? Mirjeta Baraliu from Kosovo.

It was not his only fictitious flirtation, appropriate for the European launch of a movie in which love is in the air.

When another reporter asked Smith a question, she said she had met him before. In reply he whispered:

"We were both drinking and things happened. Don't bring it up here. Don't bring it up here."

Mendes said she could vouch for Smith's smooching ability.

"I've had some great leading men, and some great black men," she said of her co-stars.

"But I really have to say that Will is so sensual, and such a great kisser, he's by far my favorite on-screen kiss, and I'm sure it will be hard to top him."

Will Smith's Superhero Effort

Fresh off the record-breaking opening of Hitch, Will Smith has signed on for Tonight He Comes, a drama about a down-and-out superhero who drinks, smokes and has one-night stands to assuage his general discontentment.

After he is drawn to a married woman, the disillusioned hero develops a new outlook on life.

Jonathan Mostow (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines) is set to direct the film and Akiva Goldsman and Michael Mann will produce.

Former X-Files writer and executive producer Vince Gilligan penned the current incarnation of the script; the original was written by Vincent Ngo.

Tonight has long been on film executives' list of best unproduced films, but due to its dark undertones, has reportedly been difficult to get off the ground.

However, given Smith's recent batting average, the film stands a good chance of being a box office hit.

Per BoxOfficeMojo.com, the Men in Black star has a weekend opening average of $34.2 million--more than any other actor.

Since Smith has proven adept at inspiring the movie-going public to part with their hard-earned dollars, he is now channeling his star power into boosting knowledge of the AIDS (news - web sites) virus.

The actor will host Nelson Mandela's AIDS awareness concert on Mar. 16 in South Africa, which will feature performances by Annie Lennox (news), India.Arie and Queen's Brian May (news) and Roger Taylor with Bad Company's Paul Rodgers (news) on vocals.

The event is focused on highlighting the plight of South African women and girls who are more than six times more likely than men to become infected with the virus, Mandela said Thursday.

"We do not treat our women with enough dignity and respect," Mandela said. "We must mobilize to act, and act soon, before it is too late."

Will Smith Joins Ranks of Superheroes

Will Smith, who currently stars in "Hitch," is about to suit up Big Willie-style.

The 36-year-old actor is developing the superhero drama "Tonight He Comes," according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The project centers on a jaded superhero who escapes life through booze, smoking and one-night stands. His interest in life is revived when he meets a married woman.

The project had been in development purgatory for many years because of its dark tone.

In other news, Smith's "I, Robot" director Alex Proyas has signed on for the thriller "Knowing," which centers on a man who digs up a time capsule from the 1950s containing disturbingly prescient children's drawings that have all come true -- except for one. Now, he's on a mission to prevent the dire prediction from happening.

Smith recently provided the voice of the piscine hero in "Shark Tale." He is also attached to star in rags-to-riches film "Pursuit of Happiness."


Will Smith Has 'Sumthin' For Eminem' On New LP, Due In March

Rapper/actor calls Lost and Found a 'departure' from his previous albums. Will Smith, known for shirking rhymes about bling and violence for more upbeat messages, is using his new album to prove he's got a tough side, too.

The rapper/actor is releasing his fourth solo album, Lost and Found, on March 29,featuring the track
"Mr. Nice Guy," about how people mistake him for being soft. And according to a statement by his spokesperson, Smith has "sumthin' for Eminem" in the song.

The album, which Smith calls a "departure" from his previous albums, which include Born to Reign (2002), Willenium (1999) and Big Willie Style (1997), will be led by the single "Switch."

The track is "a snapshot of my life," Smith said in a statement. "It's the most in-depth, revealing writing that I've done in my career."

Also included on the LP are collaborations with longtime partner Jazzy Jeff (with whom Smith recorded five albums as DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince), Mary J. Blige, Robin Thicke, Timbaland and Snoop Dogg, who worked with Smith on the track "Pump Ya Brakes."

Smith, who started laying down tracks for the album in 2003 and ultimately recorded more than 50 songs, said that the new album is best described as old-school retro hip-hop, and that the music is more serious than in the past, but is still just as fun.

With his latest feature film, "Hitch," having just debuted in theaters at #1 (see "Love Beats Hate As 'Hitch' KO's 'Boogeyman' "), Smith will take a break from acting for the next six to eight months to focus on his music.

Love Will find a way

They lean forward and gaze into each other's eyes. Anticipation builds as their lips gently pucker.
Suddenly, Kevin James, TV's King of Queens, dives in and lays a dainty peck on the mouth of a shocked Will Smith. Cinema's king of the summer blockbuster recoils in mock disgust as he yells, "What the hell was that?"

The initial reaction of the New Yorkers who witnessed the filming of the smooch lesson gone awry for the courtship caper Hitch, opening Friday, wasn't much kinder.

"They had no idea what the movie was, no idea what the scene was," recalls Smith, who chuckles while seated in a high-rise eatery with a Central Park view the day after the movie's premiere. "All they see is me out on the corner kissing Kevin James. And this black dude screams out, 'Will, no! Uh-uh. Don't do that. Whatcha doing, Will?' "

Making amends, for one. The image-conscious actor came to regret his refusal to kiss a man as a gay hustler in 1993's Six Degrees of Separation, his breakout film that followed the popular sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and chart success as a rap artist.

But in these queer-eyed days, same-sex spit-swapping is de rigueur.

"It took someone like me to turn him," jokes James, who shines as a timid accountant who pines for Amber Valletta's stunning socialite. "I minted more for that kiss than the one with Amber."

Smith also is out to score some laughs. Much to the delight of his female admirers, the buff-and-polished action hero is finally starring in a romantic comedy. In Hitch, he's a lover, not a fighter. There are no aliens to battle. No androids gone amok. No big guns, bad guys or pug dogs wailing disco classics.

Instead, the relationship romp is overrun with hapless males in desperate need of guidance on matters of the heart. That is where Smith's Hitch comes in. His job is to coach woeful Romeos so they can impress unattainable Juliets. Meanwhile, Hitch must conquer his own commitment fears when he gets an itch for a sassy gossip columnist.

Eva Mendes, who plays the tabloid tattler, says of Smith, "God, he's so sexy. Women are going to respond to him in a different way. You really see his vulnerability."

Today, he's attired to inspire such thoughts in an urban preppy getup of Lacoste pullover and baggy jeans. The final touch: the multi-carat diamond rocks that anchor his unmistakable stuck-out ears.

"It was strange for me, stripping it down to essentially just talking," says Smith, 36, of his genre switch. "No blue screens, nothing. To perform honestly and emotionally with a robot, that's a skill I've developed. But I love the interaction between Eva and me. I'm so at home in that romantic space."

His action days are waning

As his melon-sized biceps prove, he's also at home in the gym, lifting weights and running. But the routine can be a grind. "I'm going to stay in shape for about four more years," he vows between bites of bread. "Then I'm letting it all go. I'm going for the guy-with-the-gut roles. Soon as I'm 40, I'm going to stop watching what I eat."

This sci-fi junkie, who turned down a chance to go to MIT to pursue a music career, is smart enough to know that aging action heroes carry an expiration date. There are two paths to safeguarding your status: You can either mix it up as even Vin Diesel is doing in the upcoming comedy The Pacifier. Or run for governor of California, a post currently filled.
Smith also is reviving his hip-hop pursuits. His first solo album in nearly three years, Lost and Found, is due March 29.

This $20-million-a-movie club member, who also is a producer on Hitch, can afford a change of pace. A true superstar whose hot-weather outings have grossed more than $1 billion, he has ruled the July 4 box office on a regular basis since 1996's Independence Day. Now he's ready to set off a different kind of fireworks while seducing this weekend's Valentine's Day date crowd.

"Hitch is who I am," Smith assures. That would include the film's awkward college flashback in which the West Philly native exposes his inner Urkel. "Mike Lowrey from Bad Boys is my alter ego," he says, referring to his slick lady-killer detective. "That is who I dream of being."

He and his actress wife of seven years, Jada Pinkett Smith, go so far as to offer Hitch-style counseling to friends and family. "Jada and I study relationships. I am a student of male-female interaction."

Women likely will relish the sight of the Fresh Prince charming his way through love's pitfalls and pratfalls. But Sony, the studio behind Hitch, isn't taking any chances. Millions were invested in a Super Bowl ad to convince fans of his brawnier fare that their masculinity won't be compromised. "People generally look at romantic comedies as chick flicks. This one is not that," says Smith, who balances cutting up with James with canoodling with Mendes.

Learning from a master

He took his cues from one of the best in the biz: Cary Grant. "I love how Cary Grant could be so aggressive with women without losing his sensitivity," he says. "Like with Katharine Hepburn in The Philadelphia Story. She broke his golf club. He runs up and balls his fist to punch her, but he knows he can't hit a woman. So he grabs her face and shoves her down."

Hence, the vicious food fight between Smith and Mendes, in which chopped veggies are the weapon of choice.

For someone who effortlessly sinks into the role of a dating coach, Smith has very little personal experience to draw upon. Not because he didn't have luck with the ladies. Just the opposite. "My first record came out when I was 17, three weeks before I graduated from high school. The women always knew who I was. It wasn't, um, the average teenage experience."

Smith, who had an '80s hit with partner DJ Jazzy Jeff aptly titled Girls Ain't Nothing But Trouble, continues: "When you are on the road, you are in town for one night, and the girl knows it's now or never. The dating is the walk from the lobby, up to the elevators to your room."

The easy pickings were swell for a while. But even men can't live by one-night stands alone. "You start to get a little older, and it's like, 'Wow. You don't know anything except I rap, and you are willing to do anything for me.' Well, that's not really for me then. That's for some person you don't really know, some fantasy of a guy who probably doesn't exist."

He's hitched to Jada

Not that Smith is incapable of long-term relationships with the opposite sex. He met his first crush when she was 3 and he was 2. They grew up together, and Stacey Alphonso remains one of his best friends. And his wife doesn't mind.

"I love women," he says, "and my desire to bathe and bask in femininity is the energy that creates the ability to love my wife. If you kill one, you kill the other."

Smith and his first wife, Sheree, mother of son Trey, 12, were divorced in 1995. He and Pinkett Smith were wed on New Year's Eve in 1997 and are the parents of son Jaden, 6, and daughter Willow, 4.

"Jada is a brick," he says, then amends it. "She's my cottony brick. She's a brick in reaction to her open wounds. Which most people are. I can see her clearly. From the first day, I knew who she was."

Hitch director Andy Tennant confirms that Smith is indeed the more romantic of the two. "It's all about the romance and taking it to the next level. He is a people pleaser. He excels at that."

So when other guys take their sweeties to see Hitch as a Valentine's treat, how will this celebrity couple spend the day?

No lame candy hearts here. "We don't generally celebrate holidays on the holidays," he says. "A few years ago we went to Hawaii in October. I surprised her, and we celebrated Valentine's Day. We had all the balloons and rose petals and all of that. We woke up the next day, and it was Valentine's Day all over again. For seven days in a row. The element of surprise is what makes it. You can't surprise anyone on Feb. 14."

Men, do you hear that? Don't do anything Monday for your best gal. Wait eight months to show how much you adore her. Tell her it was Will Smith's idea. She'll be so glad you made no effort on the actual day.

Then again, having a card and a couple of roses on hand might not be a bad idea.

Will Smith: Love Lessons

Will Smith can handle aliens ("Men in Black," "Independence Day"), and he can handle robots ("I, Robot"), but can he handle Eva Mendes? In "Hitch," Smith plays Alex Hitchens, a sort of "date doctor" who prescribes romance advice to the men of New York, including "King of Queens" star Kevin James. But when a beautiful gossip columnist goes undercover to write an exposé on him and his methods, his rules of love are put to the test in more ways than one. MTV News' Jeff Cornell recently made an appointment with the good doctor, and here's what he learned:
MTV: So just who is this guy, Hitch?

Will Smith: Well, you know, Hitch is, he's a master. This is the guy who studies relationships, studies women, and understands the technical dynamics of attraction and seduction, but he's lost the element — he's built a wall around his heart, you know, so that's the element that really pushes these rules and principles through.

MTV: As an actor, do you believe in chemistry? Because you and Kevin James just seem to have an awesome chemistry onscreen.
Smith: Oh, it's definitely chemistry. You can't plan, you can't buy it. It's just two people either vibe one another or they don't. And you know, Kevin, a lot like Martin Lawrence, understands comedy math. You know, there's a certain mathematics to comedy that Kevin understands so that we can talk and we can speak a language that will allow us to create scenes that have hilarious dynamics to them.

MTV: Now, this film really does have a nice message in the end, and everything wraps up nicely. It seems men and women can both learn something from this film.

Smith: Yeah, I guess really the message is you can formulate and you can put together all the things you want and create and have your lines and all of that stuff but the bottom line is that it's gonna come down to you. It's gonna come down to who are you when you get to the end of the day and are you comfortable enough and have you created a person that is worthy of having that person you want to be with?

MTV: Right on. And what's next for you? What else will we see you in?

Smith: I'm doing music this year, I don't have [another] film. I'm finishing my album up in the next week or so, and we just started leaking my single. It's called "Switch." The song, you know, I always keep a stash. You see, that's the thing: You gotta hit when they don't know what's coming. I got a single and the album's called Lost and Found, and the first week in April [is the due date] for the album.

MTV: Excellent. Who did you work with on this record?

Smith: I've got a song with Mary J. Blige, a song with Snoop — I've got a few tracks that are a real departure for me.

MTV: Any live appearances this year? Will you be doing some shows?

Smith: Yeah, probably as the album comes out, top of April, I'll start doing some shows, some Summer Jams and stuff like that.

 

'Hitch ' A Switch For Big Willie

What's a Will Smith movie doing opening in the middle of February?
Ever since 1996's "Independence Day," Smith has been known for action-packed blockbusters ("Men in Black") that open in the heat of summer and make millions.

In fact, he likes to call the July 4 holiday "Big Willie Weekend."

But now that he's 36, he's moving away from action. "My body definitely doesn't feel the same," he admits.

He says he'd like to avoid "that old-man run - where you see the action hero in his 50s, and he wants to make one more, but shouldn't."

That's why he's going back to his comedy roots ("The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air"), with "Hitch," which opens Friday.

It's his first romantic comedy - and if audiences embrace him as a lover boy, it likely won't be his last.

In it, the $20-million-a-movie star plays Alex Hitchens, an ultra-suave New Yorker who's so smooth with the ladies that he hires himself out to other guys as a "date doctor."

Yet while he's trying to help a slobby accountant (Kevin James of "The King of Queens") hook up with a fancy socialite (Amber Valletta), he finds himself falling for a hard-edged gossip columnist (Eva Mendes).

As it turns out, the "Hitch" shoot in New York last summer brought up its share of relationship challenges in Smith's own marriage - though he and wife Jada Pinkett Smith handled them with customary aplomb.

"I mean, wow, Eva Mendes is freaking gorgeous," Smith says - and he insists he would say the same thing to Jada's face.

"Our perspective is, You don't avoid what's natural. You're going to be attracted to people.

"In our marriage vows, we didn't say 'forsaking all others,'" he adds - though he insists he'd never cheat on Jada without asking her permission.

"The vow that we made was that you will never hear that I did something after the fact.

"If it came down to it, then one [spouse] can say to the other, 'Look, I need to have sex with somebody. I'm not going to if you don't approve of it - but please approve of it.'"

Now, that doesn't mean that Will Smith is about to screw up Hollywood's last good marriage.

For him, it comes down to one thing, he says: "Are you a person of your word or not?"

That's the secret, he says, to why his marriage has lasted, while so many other celebrity love matches have bitten the dust.

"I spend hours reading, studying," Smith says. "And my wife and I talk about things that work - and don't work."

Eight years in, the Smiths still behave like newlyweds.

"I don't let a day go past that Jada doesn't feel like the queen of the world," Smith told a reporter last month. "I make sure every single day that she knows how I feel about her."

Will and Jada's solid relationship is such a Hollywood rarity other famous couples have turned to them to help salvage their unravelling marriages.

"Every time somebody in Hollywood breaks up, Jada and I go and find out why," Smith says.

"With Bruce and Demi, we spent hours talking to them.

"And Tom and Nicole - hours, just trying to understand what happened."

Of course, even the Smiths' expert marriage counseling couldn't save either of those relationships - but the experience, he says, has helped them in their own.

Like his good pal Tom Cruise (news), Smith is someone who prides himself on self-control and serious discipline - not only in relationships, but also in every other part of life.

"It's kind of a game that I play with myself," Smith says. "When everybody else is tired and going home at the end of the day, I need to know that I'm the one person that's going to the gym.

"I need that mindset because I've been successful, and it's easy to get lazy. Once you start to slip physically, you're going to slip mentally."

Smith has been a gym rat since 1995, when he first started working with a personal trainer to get buffed up for "Bad Boys."

These days, the 6-foot-2 actor lifts weights and runs about three miles four or five times a week.

He showed off his buff bod (all of it) last summer, during a brief nude scene in "I, Robot," and America's breathless reaction spurred Jada to redouble her efforts at the gym.

"She said, 'Nope, you're not catching me out there, slipping out of shape,'" Smith has recalled.

"We call the younger guys that might be coming after Jada 'thundercats,' and we call the girls who might be coming after me 'thunderkittens.'

"Jada was like, 'Nope, all them thunderkittens got to see my man in that movie. I gotta go get in shape.'"

Smith has always wanted to please the women in his life.

"I wanted them to always look at me like I was the best," he recalls of his mother and grandmother. "That transferred into the interaction with the women in my life."

When he was coming up, first as a rap star, then on TV's "Fresh Prince" and in movies, Smith met plenty of women - and sowed plenty of oats.

"I had about two years when I went a little wild," he recalls. "After my first girlfriend left me, I just didn't want to be attached. I wanted to be able to have sex and move on."

But that was then.

After splitting from his first wife, Sheree (they have a son, Trey, now 13), Smith met Jada, when she tried out to play his girlfriend on "Fresh Prince." Nia Long got the part, but Jada got the man.

They married on New Year's Eve in 1997, and now have two kids of their own: son Jaden, 7, and daughter Willow, 5.

They also stay very close with Sheree and Trey, in a self-described "blended family" that Jada and Will used as inspiration when they created the UPN sitcom "All of Us,"now in its second seasion.

Will's next big-screen project is an as-yet-untitled biopic adapted from a real story about a homeless man who was living in a train-station bathroom, but now is a self-made millionaire and owner of a Chicago stock brokerage.

And he's also keeping a finger in the music biz. He'll release a new single at the end of February, and an album next month.

He'd even like to go on tour later this year, maybe starting in Europe, where Jada played last year with her band Wicked Wisdom, as an opening act for Britney Spears (news).

"Jada wants to go back," Will says. "It'll be the Smith family tour."

Just don't expect to find him chasing bad guys or fighting aliens anytime soon.

Even Jaden thinks his father should lay off the action movies.

"He said, 'Whoa, Dad, I love that,'" Will recalls. "'But don't save the world no more.'"

 

Will Smith would need permission before cheating

Will Smith has admitted he would never cheat on his wife Jada Pinkett-Smith without first asking her permission.

Smith told the New York Post, "Our perspective is, You don't avoid what's natural. You're going to be attracted to people.

"In our marriage vows, we didn't say 'forsaking all others.'" But, Smith insists he would never cheat on Jada without asking her permission.

"The vow that we made was that you will never hear that I did something after the fact," added the rapper-actor who wed Pinkett-Smith on New Year's Eve in 1997.

"If it came down to it, then one spouse can say to the other, 'Look, I need to have sex with somebody. I'm not going to if you don't approve of it - but please approve of it.'"

The star says it comes down to one thing, "Are you a person of your word or not?."

Smith also revealed that other famous Hollywood couples had come to him and Jada for marital advice.

These included his good friend Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman and Bruce Willis and Demi Moore before both couples eventually split.

The Men In Black star also says that at 36 he wants to move away from action movies. "My body definitely doesn't feel the same," he added although he says he continues to work out regularly at the gym.

Smith plays Alex Hitchens, a "date doctor" in his new movie, Hitch, which opens in the UK on March 4. He releases his first album for three years, Lost and Found, next month preceded by the single titled Switch.

Will Smith's ''Hitch''

Having heroically taken down aliens and robots, it was only a matter of time before Will Smith applied his considerable charm to a sparkling, urbane romantic comedy.

Well, it looks like that time has yet to arrive because "Hitch" just ain't it.

While Smith and his easy charisma were certainly up to the task of playing an advice-dispensing date doctor who has trouble following his own rules, the picture is an unwieldy, excessively talky affair, unintentionally exhibiting all the clunky stops and starts and self-conscious ramblings of a particularly awkward first date.

Valentine's weekend audiences in the market for something breezier and effervescent will probably be disappointed but not necessarily deterred. Given the former Fresh Prince's high liability factor, opening female-driven business should be sweet but ultimately not potent enough for Mr. July to claim the month of February.

After taking an awfully long time to get started, "Hitch" finally gets down to the business of telling the story of Smith's Alex "Hitch" Hitchens, the smooth New York bachelor who, for a reasonable fee, will teach his fellow men, no matter how meek or mild, how to woo the woman of their dreams.

Hitch has his hands full coaching timid corporate accountant Albert Brennaman (Kevin James), who's head-over-heels smitten with Allegra Cole (supermodel-actress Amber Valletta), a glamorous socialite who normally wouldn't give the likes of Albert a second glance, let alone a first.

Although Hitch has never truly recovered from having his heart broken back in college, he suddenly finds himself wearing it back on his sleeve when he meets Sara Melas (Eva Mendes), a gossip reporter for the New York Standard tabloid who makes a living covering and uncovering the love affairs of the rich and famous but has yet to find her own Mr. Right.

Somehow, the date doctor's patented prescription for love and happiness doesn't work quite as well when he's required to do the self-medicating and he has to learn the tricky art of just being himself, rather than the person he thinks women want to see.

Sounds like your standard romantic comedy formula, no?

The problem is, even with its agreeable cast and "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Ever After" director Andy Tennant at the helm, everything about "Hitch" seems off. Just like the Will Smith character, Kevin Bisch's first script keeps flitting around trying to be the kind of movie it thinks its female viewers want to see, that the film never maintains focus long enough to create credible characters and situations worthy of their two-hour investment.

On the plus side, Tennant, who has always demonstrated a good eye for locations, gets the colorful Manhattan backdrop right, choosing a number of fresh downtown venues over the usual Midtown and Upper West Side destinations.

He's ably assisted in that area by production designer Jane Musky and costume designer Marlene Stewart, who both get the desired hip and chic look down cold, with George Fenton's music underscoring the sophisticated vibe.

 

Fan: No mandate for Will Smith

At least one New Yorker can't stomach the idea of Will Smith smooching Kevin James.

When the actors were here shooting the soon-to-open romantic comedy "Hitch," Smith told us, "I was leaning in to kiss Kevin and there was this black dude on the street, who doesn't know what's going on. He sees Will kissing a man. He screams, 'Hell no, brother! Don't do that!'"

Smith plays a professional matchmaker who has to teach his clients some moves.

"The moves you see him use on screen, those were his amateur moves," Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, told us. "His game is a little more tight in real life."

Mr. Smith, I Presume?

Will Smith to play Harvard explorer. Having recently fought off alien invaders in Men In Black 2, and set to combat murderous robots this summer in I, Robot, Will Smith is probably long overdue a holiday someplace exotic – in the jungle, say, or in the fresh air of Greenland. No doubt with that in mind, the former Fresh Prince has signed on for a biopic of Dr S. Allen Counter, a Harvard neuroscience professor and professional explorer who has worked in the Arctic, the Andes, the Amazon and Egypt.

The film is described as "an adventure romance based on Counter's explorations" which confirms our immediate suspicion that the focus of the story will not be on Dr Counter winning his truly awe-inspiring list of qualifications.

There is no word yet as to when filming is expected to begin, but given Will Smith's busy schedule that is hardly a surprise. As well as beginning promotional duties for I, Robot, Will is still finishing voice work as the central character in Shark Tale and is filming The Last First Kiss, where he plays a matchmaker who must pair off an undercover journalist intent on exposing him as a fraud. Something of a change of pace for the man who spent his last film demolishing most of Miami, but we're sure Smith can pull it off.

Smith: 'I, Robot Is Darker And Amazing'

Exclusive: The Fresh Prince gets serious. If you've been studying I, Robot's promotional campaign with any interest – and to our eternal shame, it's been keeping us up at nights – you might have noticed a gradual change in tone.

The first trailers for the Alex Proyas movie, in which technophobe cop Will Smith stumbles upon an apparent conspiracy by robots to take over the world, despite inbuilt laws preventing them from harming humans, were mostly light-hearted, showcasing Smith's usual wisecracking schtick. They didn't go down particularly well, especially with fans of Isaac Asimov's original stories on which the movie is very loosely based.

Since then, though, the trailers and posters have gradually become much darker, more serious, less campy - very much in keeping with the work of Dark City director Proyas. Is this, then, a new breed of Will Smith movie?

“People will be very surprised," says the former Fresh Prince, speaking exclusively to Empire. "It's darker, it’s really well done, it’s amazing. It is essentially an art house movie masquerading as a big summer sized action film.”

Hmm… not sure how that will go down with the great unwashed in Buttplug, Idaho (or indeed, Milton Keynes), but it's an admirable declaration of intent. “I think it’s what the future of action movies are going to have to be like," insists Smith. "You have to think a bit, you gotta pay attention and in the film there are intellectual concepts that need to be debated and discussed and argued about."

That's fighting talk, Will. But then, with an intriguing story, seemingly impressive special effects from Digital Domain, and the stunning Bridget Moynahan as Dr Susan Calvin, a robot psychologist who assist's Smith's Del Spooner in his battle to uncover the conspiracy, I, Robot has emerged from the shadows to become, potentially, one of the summer's most intriguing movies. Watch this space…

Will Smith: I, Superstar

Will Smith dazzles at the I, Robot premiere. Leicester Square last night was filled with the sort of screaming hysteria usually associated with Beatles concerts circa 1963. At the centre of it all was a handsome man in a snazzy suit with an understandably large grin on his face. Will Smith, one of Hollywood's biggest stars, is a man enjoying life. I, Robot opened in the States to some of the best reviews of his career and the best box office, and looks set to do similarly well here. In fact, if the premiere was anything to go by, it's going to be HUGE.

Big Willy himself was as charming as ever, arriving early to greet the screaming hoardes and even taking time to perform a musical set, including his new single, Switch, and crowd-pleasing early hits – which means that Tom Cruise's crown as Hardest Working Star At A Premiere may now officially have a new owner. But before he started getting jiggy with it, we managed to grab a few words with the man himself, who had a few words to say about his smart new techno-thriller.

"I think we're to the point where you can't just blow stuff up any more and expect people to come to the movie," he said. "I love that there is a powerful, intellectual base to this film that Isaac Asimov set forth in the I, Robot shorts. I think it's smart, sexy and it also has beautiful special effects."

Typically, Will had nothing but praise for his co-stars, in particular the robot called Sonny. "This performance in this movie is so not a CGI performance. It is taken from the actor - Alan Tudyk created the life and gave the soul to this character. They used his eyes, they used his body movements, his voice, all of his inflections. People go to the movies to connect to humanity, and CGI will never be able to create what was created with Sonny in this movie."

But the one question that everyone was asking was about Will's plot-essential and totally non-gratuitous shower scene. He may have saved the world a few times, but was he nervous? "You're always nervous when you're nekkid. Because there's a difference between being naked and being nekkid, and I was nekkid in the movie. But Jada thought the shower scene was great. Her motto is that no woman wants a man that other women don't want, so she was very comfortable with the shower scene."

Director Alex Proyas, who previously enjoyed cult but not so much commercial success, was enjoying the fruits of a hard-won battle to get Will on board and the film made. "The first time he turned it down, and I went back and wouldn't take no for an answer, and eventually I just annoyed him to the point where he said yes."

So what's up next for Proyas, now that he's made what looks set to be one of the year's biggest blockbusters? "I'm going to take a break – I'm making a little horror movie. Now that I've had this success I can probably go and get weirder next time." Watch this space for further news.

But the final word here must go to the formerly Fresh Prince and current Hollywood King, just before he dashed off to fresh screams, past a mostly ignored selection of boy bands, to dedicate "Summertime" to the London crowds.

"Leicester Square is a mad house; repeat, Leicester Square is a mad house. Will Smith is obviously the Man!"

Will Smith stars in "I, Robot"

At the conclusion of the new Will Smith movie I, Robot, a fellow audience member was heard to remark: 'That Will Smith is such a personable young actor'. The next day, the casually attired movie star says that he is more than comfortable with that particular persona. "You know what? People are my energy. I am one of those kinds of guys where I just can't function if somebody is uncomfortable in the room, or if somebody is pissed off. It is oppressive to me, so it is always important for me to keep the energy good, keep it going and keep it happy, if only for selfish reasons. But also, people enjoy being able to laugh and feeling comfortable, so it is important to me to keep that energy alive." Smith has always been press-friendly. His loud, boisterous voice booms with a genuine and consistent energy.

Always affable, nothing seems to faze the actor, even when faced with a recent tabloid tale of his so-called $1.8m trailer. Smith eyes the splashy story and begins to laugh. "You are starting with that? That is terrible and a million dollars exaggerated," Will insists, continuing to laugh loudly. The actor says that such stories are typically fabricated. "People couldn't possible imagine that somebody could make something up like that as we see stuff all the time - especially in New York. When you are there, you read stuff in the paper all the time." He then cites a recent example of fictionalized journalism, when he was supposedly spotted at a recent Prince concert, "and I couldn't get in because I wanted my crew in and the tickets were $100 a piece, so I said 'I am not payin' to see this concert,' and I left. The truth was, I was in bed asleep when it supposedly happened. People just could not possibly imagine that they made up EVERYTHING...". Yet, for the former TV star-turned movie megastar, it is all part and parcel of fame, yet Smith's attitude to the tabloid media, is "you just gotta ignore it."

These days, however, Smith is having a blast who, at 35, is still able to blow things up and shoot things down, such as a bunch of robots, both real and imagined, in this loose adaptation of Isaac Asimov's collection of stories, I, Robot. No stranger to doing battle with sci-fi creatures from the Men in Black franchise, Smith says that on I Robot, the process of dealing with a lot of CGI robots was simpler than in his MIB days. "The process was somewhat easier because technology has grown to the point where now they can actually use a person. So they had the guys in green suits, which meant being able to play the scene with a person actually gives a real organic texture to it versus looking at a tennis ball." Smith had been attached to I, Robot, ever since Australian director Alex Proyas was able to get this pet project off the ground. The actor said his attraction to the film had less to do with feeling an affinity for his anti-technology character, futuristic cop Del Spooner, but to the "concept that Alex wanted to create."

That was, adds Smith, "a small art film filled in the wrappings of a summer blockbuster." By that he means, that he sees this I, Robot as a part action blockbuster and part character study, referring to one pivotal moment, a lengthy interrogation scene between Smith's Spooner and Sonny, a robot accused of murder. "That scene is a six minute scene and Alex just takes his time with it. You just wouldn't normally take that kind of time in a summer blockbuster, to have a movie where your hero cries about a little girl being killed by a robot. I loved the challenge of being able to make a movie with that kind of texture and depth and be able to put it out in July." Smith says that Spooner is the antithesis of the actor. "This was the first time I have ever played a character that was that troubled. This is a dude that walks around every day unhappy, which is not me at all, because I am tickled pink," he says laughingly.

"Tickled pink" may be the perfection description of Will Smith. After all, he is on top of Hollywood's A-list, and has a successful marriage to actress Jada Pinkett. Smith says that balancing family and career has always been his priority. "First and foremost, just like in my house when I was growing up, I knew that my mother was the centre, in that mommy has to be taken care of first and if mommy is straight, then everybody else will be straight. So at home, I am very clear that Jada's physical, mental, spiritual health and comfort come first and foremost, and then everything else comes from the garden. So for me it is very important to keep my garden watered, and healthy," adds Smith, trying hard to maintain a straight face. "Everything else will come from there."

As for his nude scene in I, Robot, Smith says that Jada doesn't mind if women [and some men], manage to gasp and cheer at the sight of his on-screen pectorals. "Let me tell you, Jada loves that. She says all the time that 'no woman wants a man that another woman don't want.' So she is very comfortable." Even though the couple is producing a TV sitcom, Smith confesses that they rarely watch TV at all any more. Instead, he says laughingly, "we just have lots of sex."

While Smith says that it is his acting that pays the bills, he still loves making music. "I have an album coming for Christmas, which I haven't compiled yet, but I have about 40 songs so far. The technology of making music today is ridiculous. I just programmed the music, laid the vocals, mixed the record and burned a CD on my laptop in my hotel room. I am like 'Wow!' that it has come to a point with technology that I was mixing a song with my headphones on the plane flying back here." Smith says that he sees parallels between his up-and-coming album and I, Robot. "It is the same type of blockbuster zone, but slightly more mature, and more elevated intellectually. That is sort of where my music is now, but still fun".

If the music takes off, Smith may give up the acting - well at least a certain type of movie. "I feel like I have got five or six more years of action movies and blowing stuff up. I probably want to hurry up and get those while I can still take my shirt off in a movie," he adds smilingly. After that, he says there is a vanity project he is yearning to do. "When we were in Mozambique shooting "Ali", I was really taken by the similarities in the music, which was so drastically different, but there is a real basis that connects to rhythm and movement. So for probably about 20 years I have dreamed about doing an album maybe entitled The World According To Hip Hop that would be an exploration of world music through the eyes of hip hop producers. I just haven't has the chance to have the 7 or 8 months free to be able to travel to different places and record for two weeks and go around the world."

Meanwhile, Will has some other movies coming out, including the new comedy The Last First Kiss and the animated comedy Shark's tale. But there is no Men in Black 3 in Smith's immediate future. "It just has to be right. I feel like "I, Robot" really raises the bar for me for that genre, so there has to be those other levels. Not that you can't have fun, but there is something about "I, Robot".

Will Smith: "Men in Black 2"

Will Smith is in the best of moods, and he wants to make that clear. "I'm so happy I'm havin' a heart attack," he laughingly exclaims as he begins the push for the next new summer blockbuster Men n Black 2. While in that movie, Smith is smartly donned in the now trademark black suit and tie, he is more comfortable, for THIS interview, to relax in a bright orange shirt, faded blue jeans and crisply clean white sneakers. Smith had just returned from Australia where he had begun not only to spread the MIB word, but also to visit his wife, Jada Pinkett, who was in Sydney shooting the two Matrix movies. "There's nothing more comfortable for an actor being on somebody ELSE'S movie set and not havin' to work; it's like you wanna be away from YOUR movie set but for some reason you want to be on A movie set. That really signals ‘vacation' when you're on somebody else's movie set and you don't have to do nothin' but have to go to craft services." But even Smith, an old pro in shooting whiz bang Hollywood special effects movies, admits to having been in awe on THAT particular movie set. "That movie is going to be INSANE. I've seen about 15 minutes of it and they're going to revolutionise action movies." Perhaps his wife could come out of it a bigger star than her famous hubbie, and that doesn't bother him one bit, he happily insists. "I like that, man; let her go out there for a change while I sit home for a couple of months."

Often described by his peers and co-workers as an actor with relentlessly boyish enthusiasm, the description that causes him the most laughter is the one offered by MIB co-star Lara Flynn Boyle who calls Smith "not only the perfect co-star, but Jesus-like". How can Smith respond to that, one asks when jokingly asking him to turn his Evian water into wine. "Well, my son," he begins laughingly. "My wife has often said that I'm creatively co-dependant and that basically, in order for my creative mind to be engaged at 100%, I need everybody in the vicinity to be in a good mood, to be happy and to be comfortable; negative energy pulls on me creatively. So if someone's uncomfortable or having a bad day in the room, I feel the need to perk that person up and try to make them laugh. It seems like this is a beautiful, Jesus-like, selfless act, when in actuality, a huge part of it is very selfish and needy on my part", Smith insists laughingly.

That's Smith, of course, on the one hand revelling in a sense of humour that is reflected on screen and off, yet also, a skilled perfectionist willing to immerse himself in creative diversity, from the special effects-dominated MIB to last year's distinctive Ali, which would present Smith with his greatest artistic challenge. While he may be more comfortable doing comedy, he felt the need to stretch himself doing Ali. "I was just at the point in my career where I needed to be challenged. I'm a firm believer that people don't respect the safe shot, no matter how much money the movie makes, no matter how good your performance is, if it's something that people expect that you can do, then they don't respect it." Despite Smith's Oscar nomination and the amount he put into the film, none of that was reflected in its lacklustre commercial success, yet Smith has no regrets. "That's what you have to expect when you make a film like Ali; I wasn't expecting it to make $200m. When I started it, I knew that anything near $90m is a smash, home run. After all, it's two and a half hours and a biopic about a Muslim that defied the American government. So in MY mind, breaking even on the film was the outside, while the most important thing to ME, was telling the story, one that I felt was important, that needed to be told. I couldn't really ask for anything more."

As challenging as Ali was, it was an added relief for Smith to jump from those shoes to the more comfortable ones of his secretive agent in MIB2, a sequel which fans have been clamouring for, for five years, and the time was right for Smith and company to return to the characters that truly made them stars. "Coming off Ali, I really wanted to do a character that I didn't have to do any character work for", he explains smilingly. "I wanted a rest", he adds laughingly. "I mean I trained for a year and a half on Ali, which really takes it out of you, Man, so the idea of doing a character that I already knew and researched, that was a comedy, that feels more natural to me, and with the team that we have on this film, all really appealed to me." In MIB2, which is even more comedic and goofy than its predecessor, Smith says that doing this type of irreverent comedy feels natural to the actor, "I just think that my natural instincts are comedic; I think that comedy is actually more difficult than drama but comedy is where I've been for my entire career and I just feel very comfortable trying to create laughs." In the much-anticipated sequel, Smith's agent has to battle against an evil alien [a deliciously droll Lara Flynn Boyle] ready to destroy Earth. In so doing, Smith needs the help of the now amnesiac Agent K [Tommy Lee Jones] who is currently working as a post office employee. First, through a process of deneuralisation, Agent K has to get his memory back.

It's been a long five years since the original, but Smith denies that getting to do the sequel had nothing to do with the complexities of putting together a major Hollywood deal. "That had nothing to do with it at all. It was more a question of getting the script together, and everyone's schedules coming together; the deal was relatively easy." Smith jokes about the whole salary issue in regards to getting this sequel off the ground. "We knew ahead of time that there's no way they could pay everybody. What they said was: This is the most we have paid any group of people for a movie, so here's the money, you guys figure it out how to divvy it up. It's relatively a simple process."

If getting the MIB2 script right was a factor in convincing Smith to return to that familiar black suit, its appeal, ponders the actor, "was the idea of that process of ‘deneuralisation', not to mention just the comedy. The things that Barry Sonnenfeld laid out that he wanted to do, comedically, were irresistible." Including, Smith adds, Frank the Pug who comes close to stealing the film from his human co-stars. Will jokingly describes the all-talking, all-singing Pug, as "a wonderful actor." With both MIB films, Will admits he's an old hand at reacting to a multitude of special effects, blue and green screens alike, "but you DO have to have a big imagination to work with special effects, especially with the more elaborate scenes."

As comfortable as he is playing movie star, which he firmly cemented with 1995's Bad Boys, Smith's passion for music will never wane. "There's nothing in entertainment that compares to being on a stage when someone recognises you for your music. NOTHING compares to that - except for boxing and knocking someone out." As to whether he would ever replace his acting with music, Smith says, he loves "the ability to go back and forth. My music always informs the next couple of years of films. When I get back in the studio, producers and writers know that they're on the forefront of fashion, of slang, of technology, so being in the studio gets me that closer to what is the next thing that's going to be. So I'll make music till I get booed off stage."

Even wife Jada gets into his musical act, and wants to continue working with her, both musically and as actors. " We did a record together called A Thousand Kisses where she sings, we worked together on Ali and had a great time working together."

As for a third Men in Black movie, Smith is not ruling it out. "If this one's successful and people like it, which I'm sure they will, I think there's some meat on the bone, but I don't want it to deteriorate. I think THIS film has some scream-applause laughter. Any time you can make an audience clap a laugh, that's a good thing. And if we can deliver that with an MIB3, I'm all for it."

Talking about sequels, Smith is ready to be a bad boy again, with Bad Boys 2 set to go before the cameras in August. "We'll be shooting in Miami and I think the movie will be great."

 


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