Will Smith, Looks Ahead To New Film, Says He Was “Broken” When “After Earth” Bombed

February 10, 2015  |  

Will Smith has a new movie, Focus, coming out and a new attitude going into the film’s opening weekend.

Previously, he tells The Daily Beast, he felt like every movie had to be a blockbuster. Based on this interview, no one was more surprised and disappointed when After Earth turned into one of the biggest box office bombs ever.

“After the failure of After Earth, a thing got broken in my mind,” he says. Now he’s more concerned with “finding more danger in my artistic choices.” To that end, he turned down films that seem right in his wheelhouse — an Independence Day sequel and a science fiction film Brilliance — in favor of one that doesn’t have a guarantee to break records.

“When I went into Focus I completely released the concept of goal-orientation and got into path-orientation—this moment, this second, these people, this interaction,” he adds. “And it is a huge relief for me to not care whether or not Focus is no. 1 or no. 10 at the box office. I’ve already gained everything I could have possibly hoped for by meeting the people and the creation of what we did together.”

After Earth cost $130 million to make and was meant to not only further solidify Will Smith’s dominance in the movie industry, but set up his son Jaden for Hollywood greatness as well. Instead, the film only brought in $60 million domestically. It’s interesting because, judging by Jaden’s public appearances and statements, that mainstream Hollywood path doesn’t seem to be something he’s too interested in. And after so many years of being atop the totem pole, it’s fascinating to hear one of the biggest stars in the world talk about how much anxiety he had about hanging on to that position. (Though the attitude that you have to work to stay on top is definitely a good one.)

Will Smith’s movies have made $6.6 billion, averaging $130 million domestically each, according to the Beast. Focus, in which he plays a con man who gets wrapped up with Wolf of Wall Street‘s Margot Robie, went through a few stars (Ryan Gosling among them) before Will Smith settled in. It doesn’t have the same comic, popcorn movie feel that a lot of his previous work has. But you can tell by the trailer that Will Smith still brings the charm.

He says in the interview that Focus is about perception. How do you think audiences perceive Will Smith these days? Total aside, we would like to see this movie. It’s in theaters February 27.


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