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Gooding Jr: Will Smith Gets All the Roles
6 January 2004 (WENN)
Oscar-winner Cuba Gooding Jr. has slammed movie bosses who refuse to give black actors the same opportunities as their white colleagues. The actor also argues that when a good African-American role comes up in Hollywood, it is automatically given to Will Smith . Cuba, 34, says, "I'll never forget when Will Smith came off TV and did his first movie and nobody really paid attention to him. "Then he did Independence Day and it made all this money and boom - he was the go-to guy. And they didn't see it as, 'Let's set a black man up', they saw him as a way to bring the people to the audience. "To this day I speak to my agent about these great roles and he's like, 'They're all going to Will Smith.'" Gooding, after the success of early films like Boyz N The Hood and Jerry Maguire, has recently appeared in critical and commercial flops like 2002's Boat Trip, whilst Smith has starred in the hit Bad Boys and Men In Black franchises, as well as the acclaimed Ali.
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Robots To Invade Australia
20 July 2004 (StudioBriefing)
The sequel to the current hit I, Robot is likely to be shot in Australia, Will Smith told a news conference in Sydney Monday. Implying that director Alex Proyas , who is Australian, has been pushing for the sequel to be filmed in his homeland, Smith said. "We will probably be here next year. ... I love the idea. I loved working with Alex, so I, Robot II, or anything he is willing to make [I would do]." The original was filmed in Vancouver.
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Will Smith looks beyond Hollywood for direction

13.07.2004 By Bob Tourtellotte
So rapper-turned-actor Will Smith, whose new action movie "I, Robot" debuts this Friday, picks up the phone a few weeks back and dials Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations.

This is no joke, even though Smith is known for his humor.

"I just basically offered my services," he told Reuters in a recent interview. "I don't know what I can do. I just know that America is a better place than the reputation we're getting internationally right now."

Smith's wisecracking has made action movies like "Men in Black" huge box office hits and 1990s sitcom "Fresh Prince of Bel Air" a television sensation. His music, whether singles like "Getting Jiggy Wit It" or CDs such as 1999's "Willennium," come packed with Smith's own style, not to mention smile.

But this time, Will Smith is serious.

"I don't even know what it is, but I just know that there is influence that I can have, and I want to find a direction." He puts special emphasis and energy into "find a direction."

Smith said he's been hanging, recently, with Tom Cruise and U2 singer Bono who often lend their support to causes far outside their creative realm.

He doesn't want to go into politics. It is "too confining." He doesn't want a formal job, either. Whatever it is, he said, he would work through the private sector.

"Acting," he said. "is kind of a stepping stone to whatever that greater purpose is."

At age 35, with a wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, and kids, life is changing. Not coincidentally, Smith said his work is changing too, and his fans can see that in "I, Robot," which opens Friday in roughly 3,400 US and Canadian theaters.

The sci-fi thriller blends parts of writer Isaac Asimov's book of the same name with a murder mystery about a Detective Spooner of the Chicago police department who, in 2035, suspects a robot of murdering the scientist who created all robots.

The robotic models of mechanics and software perform mostly household functions like cooking and cleaning, and according to laws Asimov laid out, they cannot hurt humans. Their inability to do harm is written into their computer code.

But Spooner (Smith) distrusts all robots. Also, he is a survivor of a tragic car accident, and he lives with guilt from having survived. Spooner is not the in-charge, happy-go-lucky character Smith normally plays in movies like "Bad Boys" or "Men in Black." Spooner is angry, conflicted, confused.

Smith called Spooner's story in "I, Robot" a "wonderful, emotional journey you don't find in summer action movies."

There is a deeper level to the movie, too. Humans in 2035 treat robots like second-class citizens because they do the jobs no one else will.

In some cases, robots are reduced to slaves, and often it is African-American Spooner who has the least regard for them.

Those themes are for audiences who like to think. For fans who just want to see Smith crack jokes, flex muscles and blast robots, there is plenty of that, too.

Smith divides "I, Robot" into a "big story" of jokes, gunplay and action, and a "little story" of Spooner's journey.

"The big story is robots taking over the world ... but the little story is why people love a movie," Smith said, "And the little story is a guy who experienced a traumatic situation and is trying to come to grips with the way the world is."

For nearly two decades, Smith has lived a big story in rap music and in hit movies like "Independence Day" and with an Oscar nomination for "Ali." Now, it appears, the time is right for him to begin a newer, little story.
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Will Smith is set to star in the film THE MARK and surprisingly it has nothing to do with a mark-ass buster. Smith will instead star as an average, everyday Joe who "discovers a strange mark has transferred to his body from the corpse of a Confederate soldier." The mark gives him strange powers and our hero struggles with the temptation to use them for evil. The sci-fi/action project is from the mind of comics creator Rob Liefeld, who has another project, SHRINK, in development with Jennifer Lopez. Smith will produce the film alongside Nickelodeon Movies through his Overbrook Entertainment company. Looking way ahead to the future, Nickelodeon is looking to develop the eventual feature into an animated series to debut on Spike TV (Nick's sister company in corporate behemoth Viacom). Gregg Chabot and Kevin Peterka (REIGN OF FIRE) will write a new draft of the film based on Liefeld's pitch. Smith can be seen next in this summer's I, ROBOT and is prepping the romantic comedy LAST FIRST KISS with Eva Mendes.
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Will set for rap reunion
Will Smith heads our way to promote his new robot movie - and hang out with his old rappin' buddy Jazzy Jeff

FINALLY - a Hollywood superstar is coming to Melbourne. Oscar nominee Will Smith will be in town next Tuesday to promote his latest movie, I, Robot.

Smith will jet into Sydney on Monday to walk the red carpet at the film's Australian premiere.

There he'll be reunited with his old rappin' buddy, DJ Jazzy Jeff (real name Jeffrey Townes) for a special performance.

For those of us old enough to remember, the duo rolled out hits such as Parents Just Don't Understand and Boom! Shake The Room.

Townes also starred opposite Smith in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air (he played Will's mate Jazz)
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