Actor of the Week: Will Smith
Time, again, to choose a fresh face for Actor of the Week, and who better to pick than the Fresh Prince himself - Will Smith. Smith is an incredible actor which I have grown up watching, therefore it is no surprise to myself, or anyone for that matter, that he has reached the heights he has, making him a worthy choice for this segment.
As many people are already aware, Will Smith started his acting career at a fairly young age in the hit TV show The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Fresh Prince was about a streetwise boy called Will, played by Will, who is sent to live with his extremely rich Aunt and Uncle, due to having to leave his home town in Philadelphia as he kept getting himself in trouble. The show saw Will having to adjust to a lifestyle dramatically different to that which he was brought up in, making for some very fun also some heartfelt TV, as we watched Will bond with his extended family as if it was his immediate. No matter how famous Smith gets he will never be able to shake off the nickname Fresh Prince, as, like Friends, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air is a show many people enjoyed worldwide with re-runs still played on television today.
With The Fresh Prince being such an incredible hit, it was only a matter of time before Smith made his way to movies. In 1995 Michael Bay casted Smith in the buddy-cop film Bad Boys. Bad Boys is cheesey and bombastic, but was a huge hit, only elevating Smith’s career more and allowing him to take on more roles in Hollywood - a couple of examples being the legendary disaster movie Independence Day and Men in Black. Like Bad Boys, Men in Black went on to have multiple films due to the level of success it reached, cementing Smith within the movie industry.
Even though Will Smith had firmly secured a job in Hollywood, it seemed as though he struggled to shake off the comedy side of his acting, and to be seen as a fully fledged serious actor. He tried with the film Enemy of the State, but sadly that film wasn’t well received, only making it more difficult for Smith to lose this stigma. Smith went on to do the big-budget Wild Wild West, which was a terrible film, again only really pushing Smith back a step
2001 saw Smith take on the role of Muhammad Ali in Ali, A true Story about one of the best boxers to have ever lived. Many people know the story of Muhammed Ali, therefore this role was an incredible chance for Smith to show the world what he was capable of. Not only did Smith put in an incredible performance of the World Champion, he managed to gain himself an Oscar nomination, finally showing the world that he is more than just funny guy.
With this massive leap forward, showing everyone that he is a diverse actor, the jobs came flooding in, with him taking on roles such as the future cop Del in I, Robot and Hitch in my favourite Rom-Com Hitch. It wasn’t long though before we saw Smith nominated for another Oscar for his outstanding performance in the inspiring The Pursuit of Happyness. The Pursuit of Happyness is an incredible story about a father, Chris Gardner, who has lost pretty much everything, except his son and a will to succeed in life. With Chris hitting an all time low, we see him work as hard as possible to secure a future for him and his son, providing the audience with an inspiring story that if you want something hard enough in life it is achievable, which leads me onto the below video…
I could go on forever talking about all the brilliant films Smith has been in such as I Am Legend and Seven Pounds, as well as some of his not so great films like Focus, where he starred alongside fellow Actor of the Week Margot Robbie, and After Earth, but at the end of the day it is clear that Will Smith is one of the best, and has firmly written his name in the history books.