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The year without Will Smith


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Just an article I wanted to share:


By Peter Mucha

Inquirer Staff Writer

"Who da man?" Will Smith asked a pummeled alien in 1996's Independence Day.

For more than a decade, the Philly-born and -bred rapper-turned-actor has been "da man" in Hollywood.

But not this year.

And maybe not most of next year either.

The Overbrook High grad hasn't had a leading role since Seven Pounds, released last December, and doesn't star in a film that has wrapped or started shooting, according to IMDP Pro.

The absence is surprising, because, since 1995, when Bad Boys became Smith's first blockbuster, he's had at least one major movie every year - if you count 2000's The Legend of Bagger Vance as a major movie.

From 2002's Men in Black II though last year's Hancock, Smith ran up an unparalleled streak of eight straight films that grossed more than $100 million domestically.

So what's the hitch, and why no Hitch sequel?

Smith hasn't clearly said, and messages left for representatives were not returned.

Apparently, though, Smith has been shifting his attention to other roles - such as father, producer and agent of social change.

"Will's kind of taken time off to be with his kids," Hancock director Peter Berg told Hitfix.com early this month.

Time off from acting, that is. He certainly has been busy.

Today, the trailer debuted for The Karate Kid, produced by Smith and starring his son Jaden with Jackie Chan. Expect it in theaters in June.

Two weeks ago, Will and wife Jada Pinkett Smith made news interviewing President Obama after hosting the official Nobel Peace Prize concert. (Smith has said several times, by the way, he wants to play Obama in the eventual biopic, since they both have big ears.)

The Smiths and Jay Z produced Fela!, a musical that debuted late last month about a Nigerian Afrobeat pioneer.

In September, the Smiths opened a private school called New Village Academy, hoping to create "an ideal educational environment, where children could feel happy, positive and excited about learning." Before it opened, Smith found himself denying allegations it's a Scientology school, and that he's a Scientologist.

When will the former Fresh Prince of Bel Air return to the big screen as a star?

Early last month, reports claimed that Smith is planning to remake Flowers for Algernon, a sci-fi tale with social purpose about a mentally challenged man turned into a genius by medical experiments.

It's the kind of role that might give Smith a shot at the best-actor Oscar he didn't win for Ali.

The easy, greedy route to box-office gold seems obvious: Go straight to Sequel Land. But that may not be Smith's game plan, signs suggest.

No sequel - or prequel (as rumored for I Am Legend) - seems to have an accepted script yet, reports suggest.

When 2012 debuted recently, director Roland Emmerich talked of a followup to his Independence Day - and didn't mention Smith.

Hancock 2 won't happen soon, because getting all the principles to agree is "like the Israeli peace process times a thousand," director Berg told Hitfix.com.

Smith could return for Men in Black III, but with Josh Brolin as a new alien-dispatching agent, the Los Angeles Times reported earlier this month.

Other titles linked to Smith include It Takes a Thief, based on the Robert Wagner TV series; a counterfeiting thriller called Greenbacks; a horror flick called Monster Hunter; and My Wife Hates Your Wife, a comedy about friends who have to sneak to see each other.

On the other hand, Smith supposedly declined to play Capt. Nemo in a Disney remake of 20,000 Leagues Beneath the Sea.

With so many opportunities, clearly Smith could once again be "da man" - if he wants to be.


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I can deal with him not releasing any films for a year to be with his family, that's cool, but 2009 was the 4th straight year he hasn't released any music which is more disturbing since that's the longest he's gone after saying he "found" himself back with it

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I love the Philadelphia Inquirer.

I am a bit hesitant regarding Flowers....I mean there is a bit of a theme that if you want an Oscar, play a mentally challenged person. It was a great book, but still...It's borderline offensive how Hollywood plays on the audience's emotions.

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  • 1 month later...

If Will doesn't start shooting something soon, it's gonna be two years without Will Smith. Just pick a damn movie already! Anything! Hell, how about a prequel to Seven Pounds? We can see the events leading up to the fateful texting accident, or how his love affair with jellyfish started.

Edited by Radewart
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Lol we still have to wait a few months. Oh man. I think there may be a reason that we dont know of why hes been off for so long, he did plan 5 months and i think its been more like 18 months now, i could be totally wrong, he might just have enjoyed his time off with the family so much he decided to have extra.

When Will does a new movie, its basically a comeback hes been away that long, so he should pick a good one. People wont agree but i'd like MIB3, it will be a success whatever.

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People wont agree but i'd like MIB3, it will be a success whatever.

Although MIB2 was pretty poor, the Agent J character can be developed for a series of new movies. If someone scripted it right, its a TV series waiting to happen IMO. I dont think it ever will be (aside from the animated series) but I think the potential is there. Even if its not MIB3 next, i want something light hearted and comedic, but I'm down for whatever regardless.

Edited by Big Willie
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