Updated: The thrust of this Anne Thompson Variety piece is that Will Smith is pretty much the only guy right now whose movies can’t seem to fail, no matter how mediocre they may be. The article is written with a sportswriter-like aplomb and a seasoned understanding of the how the marketplace works, etc., but it’s basically a show of obeisance before box-office power.
The best thing that could happen to the guy, of course, would be to fail as this would make him dig deeper and try harder, which would lead to growth and maturity as an artist-performer. Smith has made exactly three “growth” movies since he graduated from Fresh Prince of Bel AirSix Degrees of Separation (’93), Ali (’01) and The Pursuit of Happyness (’06). Three such efforts in 15 years time obviously indicates an attitude of cruising and contentment. Which, of course, a true artist should never embrace. Although I have to say he really nailed that dog-dying scene in I Am Legend.
Stay anxious, stay hungry. Just ask Bob Rafelson.