Lauded actors often reject successful roles in movies when they have a valid reason to do so. Will Smith, one of the finest actors in the film industry, was once in a similar situation. The actor initially had doubts at first, working under Steven Spielberg’s production.

Director Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg is considered one of the most highly accomplished and influential directors in the film industry who had to pull out all the stops for Will Smith. The director was so determined to cast Will Smith that he did everything to convince the superstar and won at the end.

Steven Spielberg’s Extraordinary Efforts to Persuade Will Smith

Men in Black
Will Smith in Men in Black

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Which actor would not want to get cast in a movie produced by Steven Spielberg? Well, Will Smith proved to be the one. The Suicide Squad star initially refused to be a part of Men in Black which is produced by Spielberg. The producer did not accept Smith’s refusal and went above and beyond to convince the actor to star alongside Tommy Lee Jones. Smith then had a conversation with Spielberg in which the director of Jaws promptly asked the actor why he didn’t want to collaborate with him by mentioning his amazing filmography.

While speaking with comedian Kevin Hart on the talk show Hart to Heart, the Collateral Beauty star admitted that he was anxious and hesitant about agreeing to be a part of Men in Black. Smith’s hesitation was linked with the success of his movie Independence Day. The actor said:

“I kind of understood Men in Black, but … I didn’t want to make two alien movies back to back…Steven Spielberg sent a helicopter for me”.

Will Smith revealed that Steven Spielberg sent a helicopter for the actor and they had a discussion while drinking a lemonade. As a result, Smith signed up for the movie adding another hit to his amazing film career, and acknowledged the producer’s true determination.

Steven Spielberg and Will Smith Almost Made Chicago 7

Director Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg

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Steven Spielberg was highly interested in making a film about a trial known as Chicago 7 for which he even hired renowned screenwriter Aaron Sorkin to work on the screenplay of the director’s desired project. The Indiana Jones director was fervent about the project because he believed that the trial was politically applicable at the time due to the Iraq War.

The director conveyed haste, trying to get the movie made in time for the 2008 US presidential election. Spielberg decided to cast Will Smith in the lead role as Bobby Seale alongside the late actor Heath Ledger who was supposed to play Tom Hayden. According to Collider Smith said:

When Steve is ready he will send it. I don’t know specifics, story, anything, but he told me the filming dates, so I can be free to do it. It’s not a 100% sure thing yet, but I’m confident.

Despite the director’s enthusiasm and Smith’s preparations, the movie never kicked off. The project was hindered by the 2007 Writers’ Guild of America strike leading to the incomplete film that might have been a great success with the collaboration of one of the best directors and an Academy Winner actor.

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Watch Men in Black on Prime Video

Source: Hart to Heart and Collider

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