Will Smith is not interested in defending the film; in fact, The Hollywood Reporter said he mentioned it several times as a personal low point, during a Cannes Lions session held on Tuesday. Smith brought up the late Muhammad Ali as someone who inspired Smith to stop compromising for money and accolades.
"I had so much success that I started to taste global blood and my focus shifted from my artistry to winning," Smith said. "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." The movie made $222 million worldwide but Will Smith seems to regret his role in promoting it.
"Smoke and mirrors in marketing and sales is over," Smith 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.'"
It doesn't sound like he was specifically asked about the film, but apparently it was on his mind as a career choice nadir. You have to give him credit for honesty, and the kind of self-reflection that leads to more value-based choices, even if he kept the paycheck anyway.
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When President Ulysses S. Grant (Kevin Kline) learns that diabolical inventor Dr. Arliss Loveless (Kenneth Branagh) is planning to assassinate him, he orders Civil War hero James West (Will Smith) and U.S. Marshal Artemus Gordon (also Kline) to arrest him. West's trigger-happy personality doesn't always mesh well with that of the thoughtful Gordon, but they manage to work together. And with the help of a mysterious stranger (Salma Hayek), West and Gordon close in on Loveless. Read More