Will Smith Is Sorry He Made 'Wild Wild West' & Tricked You Into Seeing It
Will Smith is shoving "Wild Wild West" under the stagecoach. His 1999 action film -- co-starring Kevin Kline, Salma Hayek, andKenneth Branagh -- "won" several Razzie Awards, including Worst Picture, Worst Director for Barry Sonnenfeld, Worst Screenplay, and Worst Screen Couple for Kline and Smith. It has a 17 percent rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, and a sad rating of 4.8/10 from IMDb users.
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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