A film comprised of impressive special effects, catchy music and a collective batch of A-listers will sounds like the perfect formula for a surefire blockbuster. For Will Smith, the equation is slowly dying–which is a good thing for moviegoers and actors.
Speaking at the Cannes Lions session on Tuesday (June 21,) the actor looked back at some of the personal flops in his career and blamed it on his urge to chase money instead of meatier roles. “I had so much success that I started to taste global blood and my focus shifted from my artistry to winning,” he told the Hollywood Reporter. “I wanted to win and be the biggest movie star, and what happened was there was a lag — around Wild Wild West time — I found myself promoting something because I wanted to win versus promoting something because I believed in it.”
Smith looks to Wild Wild West as a “personal low point.” The 1999 film starring Smith, Salma Hayek and Kevin Kline was a hit, generating $222 million worldwide, but faced lackluster reviews. Smith believes a film like Wild Wild West wouldn’t even make it to production due to how quick audience reaction resonates through social media. “Smoke and mirrors in marketing and sales is over,” he said. “People are going to know really quickly and globally whether a product keeps its promises. I consider myself a marketer. My career has been strictly being able to sell my products globally, and it’s now in the hand of fans. I have to be in tune with their needs and not trick them into going to see Wild Wild West.”
We’re glad Smith isn’t in the business of selling his soul. Wonder what he feels about bars on the film’s soundtrack?