Some actors have no problem revisiting their gallery of iconic characters to maintain relevance (Sylvester Stallone, anyone?). However, Will Smith fans might have a bit of a wait before the former Fresh Prince – fresh off the release of Men in Black 3 – reprises another of his popular roles.
Indeed, Smith recently said that he “probably” wouldn’t be appearing in the prequel/sequel I Am Legend 2, despite previous reports that indicated he would.
On whether or not he’ll reprise his role as Robert Neville, courtesy of BBC News, Smith said:
“Probably not. Producers are working on [‘I Am Legend 2′]. I’m not actually working on it. If it’s great, I’m into it. [But] I don’t want to be the sequel guy. I figure I’ve got about six or seven more years where I can run and jump a little bit and then I’m going butt and gut for the rest of my career. Butt and gut.”
As recently as February, Smith was reportedly attached to return as Neville in the long-in-development sequel to 2007’s I Am Legend, despite his character’s fate at the end of the first film. Rumors ran rampant that the film would be a prequel or that Neville would appear only in flashbacks. Now it seems that might not be the case.
However, Smith does not rule out tackling sequels to his other hit films. A reunion with co-star Martin Lawrence and director Michael Bay on Bad Boys 3 remains a possibility, as does Hancock 2. But for Smith to really commit to any subsequent sequel, there’d have to be a “groundswell of support,” he said.
Given his position as one of the last remaining marquee box office stars, it’s refreshing to hear that Smith is hesitant to continue milking prior successes. While the Bad Boys and Men in Black series naturally lend themselves to sequels (they are, after all, buddy cop films), the rest of Smith’s filmography – especially I Am Legend – doesn’t really warrant sequel after sequel. Despite its hefty box office take, Hancock didn’t exactly leave fans clamoring for more upon its 2008 release.
Plus, with his universal appeal and genuine acting chops (see: The Pursuit of Happyness), Smith’s best performances could very well lie ahead of him. It all depends on whether or not fans embrace these upcoming original projects with the same enthusiasm as they did his past hits.
Are you disappointed to hear that Will Smith may not appear in I Am Legend 2? Would you prefer Smith make more sequels or stick to original material? Let us know in the comments.
We’ll keep you posted on the latest news regarding I Am Legend 2 as the project develops.