(NOTE: We first published this a few years ago, but have dusted it off in honor of Men in Black 3 (read our review). It is meant to be humorous and satirical, in case you’re wondering).
I’d only be half-kidding if I were to say that 75% of the time that a new leading man role is announced, I hear at least three people in our comment sections nominating Will Smith for the part. In fact, in my line of work I hear the name “Will Smith” mentioned so many times that it’s becoming something of a neurotic tick in my brain. Now that Men in Black 3 is here, Smith’s name has resurfaced once again in the cultural zeitgeist.
It never seems to matter what the role in question is: people seem to think that Will Smith – a.k.a. The Fresh Prince, a.k.a. Big Willie, a.k.a. “His Jiggyness” – is the man for part. Granted, Smith is ultimate embodiment of old Hollywood star power. The man has conquered everything – the radio airwaves, the small screen, silver screens all over the world – and his star power is still shining so bright that even his son, Jaden, has been able to bask in its glow (if The Karate Kid‘s $100 million gross is any indication).
Truly it is a Will Smith world we live in and rather than rage against the machine, I’ll instead help oil its gears by providing you readers (and Hollywood, if you’re watching) with “The 5 Roles Will Smith NEEDS to Play”.
Who better than Big Will to star in the upcoming biopics about treasured American Icons? It’s been said many times by many folks that Will Smith unequivocally embodies the American Spirit, so if Hollywood is trying to make biopics about historical figures who have become synonymous with the American ideal, they need an A-list leading man to bring those spirits and ideals to life onscreen.
Currently in the pipeline are biopics about Jimi Hendrix, Richard Pryor and Tupac Shakur, which are all prime Will Smith material, but why stop there? Why let the talent of Big Willie be hampered by something as trivial as race? Give him the Frank Sinatra biopic, the Abraham Lincoln biopics (both of them) – the whole works!
You think “Old Blue Eyes” wouldn’t give his blessing to “Old Brown Eyes” popping in a pair of colored contacts to portray him onscreen? Throw Jazzy Jeff in there as Sammy Davis Jr. and it’ll be just like old times again! As for Abraham Lincoln: Dude, Will Smith has more Lincoln in his swagger than Lincoln ever did! ‘Nuff said!
Both Marvel Studios and DC Entertainment/Warner Bros. are building epic superhero movie franchises at the moment – although there’s been a notable lack of heroes of color on the screen ever since Wesley Snipes helped usher in the modern era of superhero movies with his role as Blade (a role Will Smith should’ve played, BTW!).
The lack of superhero diversity on the big screen hasn’t gone unnoticed, and as a result, there are plans to get black superheroes into the movies – a perfect opportunity to add some Will Smith to the mix! It’s already being said every day in our comment sections – Black Panther, Luke Cage, Bishop from X-Men, The Falcon, Green Lantern Jon Stewart – Will Smith would be perfect for any one of these superhero roles – hell, he could probably play all of them.
But lets be real: a lot of those C-List heroes aren’t big enough for Will Smith! No, our beloved Big Willie has the kind of world-encompassing charisma that is best reserved for the biggest and brightest heroes in the stable! So toss him in the upcoming Superman reboot (it almost happened before), or replace Chris Evans with Big Will in Marvel’s Captain America (there’s still time!). Will Smith is basically a superhero already, so nothing is really off limits, as far as superhero movies are concerned,.
Besides, if you don’t give The Fresh Prince a chance to play some of the biggest heroes on the block, you know Hollywood is just going to create knock-off versions of those heroes and have him star in the films anyway (*cough*Hancock *cough*). Why not cash in on the combination of star power and brand recognition? Isn’t that what Hollywood is all about?
Did Tom Cruise save planet Earth in War of the Worlds? No. And you know why? BECAUSE HE’S NOT WILL SMITH!!! Only Big Will has the necessary Jiggyness to save an entire planet!
Whether it’s greeting aliens with a punch in the face (Independence Day), or whipping out his “Noisy Cricket” to blast extraterrestrials into a fine goo in the Men In Black franchise, Will Smith is the man to call when the planet needs saving. And we all know what happened when robots and/or those freaky I Am Legend mutants tried to run us off – Will Smith to the mother-f’in rescue!
In Peter Berg’s Battleship movie, aliens take on the Navy; Berg and Smith already established Hancock as an Earthly protector, so I’m sure Big Will would have no problem kicking E.T.’s ass all across the seven seas! Or how about those nasties from outer space who invade the old west in Jon Favreau’s adaptation of Cowboys & Aliens? Well, if you’ve seen Wild Wild West, you already know which cowboy Favreau and Co. needed to call for help… HINT: It ain’t Daniel Craig!
Big Will’s reputation as defender of our planet is so esteemed that there are already calls for him to return to duty in a couple of Independence Day sequels, and Smith is once again keeping us safe in the cosmos while simultaneously “making 3D look good” in Men In Black III. The man is tireless!
Okay, so right now I’m only half-joking. I could actually see this film happening (if it isn’t already). Check out my own completely unofficial synopsis:
Jaden Smith stars as an “urban youth” whose single mother works all the time, leaving him alone to face Brooklyn’s toughest neighborhood. One hot summer night, the young man steals away to the boardwalk of Coney Island, where he encounters a fortune teller who shows him a future in which he is strong, handsome, wealthy and happy. Just before he falls asleep on the beach, the young boy wishes upon a falling star for his future to come true now, and when he awakes the next morning he’s a full-grown adult, ready to make his prophesied future a reality – with a child’s hope and wonder as his only guides.
Daddy Smith and son Smith would reunite on the big screen, and Big Will would once again showcase what a great off-screen dad he is by delivering a funny and touching rendition of his son Jaden’s shining personality. I’m pretty sure that Tom Hanks will approve; with the one-two punch of Jaden and Will in one movie, who wouldn’t approve?
In fact, let’s go ahead and throw Jada Pinkett-Smith in there as the mother and make this thing a Smith family trifecta – I can already smell the cash pouring into the box office!
[EDITOR’S NOTE: If this movie gets made your old friend Outlaw wants a cut of the action!… No, seriously, a “finder’s fee” will be in order!]
A biopic about Will Smith starring Will Smith? Said one Hollywood exec: “It’s genius! We’ll call it an ‘auto-biopic,’ shoot it in 3D IMAX and charge $30 a ticket!”
Of course, seeing Will Smith walk around the screen as Will Smith wouldn’t be that interesting: to add some “dramatic depth” to the project Will would structure his performance based on Jamie Foxx’s portrayal of Will Smith – exactly the sort of meta-technique we expect from a qualified thespian!
From West Philadelphia born and raised to the heights of superstardom, Big Willie would detail all of trials and tribulations (there must’ve been some…right?) that Will Smith overcame in order to become the Legend he is today (see what I did there?).
Big Will would also write/direct/produce the film – with some help from his lovely wife, of course. Jada could also play herself in the movie, and there would be a dual role for Jaden as both young Will and himself (for anyone else it might be overkill – but not for a Smith!).
Of course the whole thing would have to premiere in theaters exclusively in 3D IMAX: Will Smith’s life is simply too large for the constrictive dimensions of your standard movie theater screen. None of that 2D nonsense over here – if you want to get an inside look at Big Will’s life, you have to get inside of it!
So there you have it: a well-plotted road map for Will Smith’s career that will keep him coasting through the next decade and up to that podium at the Oscars where he belongs.
(P.S. – In case there’s STILL a question, this was all just for fun – THESE ARE NOT REAL SUGGESTIONS (except maybe that Big remake). We all know that whichever roles Big Willie chooses play, they will be golden. The man just shines that bright!)
And if you’re wondering why this all sounds so ridiculous – well, this is pretty much how it looks when you pull together every single Will Smith casting suggestion people feed into our comments section every day. Trust us, we’re all too aware of how ridiculous it is. ;-)