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Will Smith Admits One Thing That’s Changed Massively About His Hollywood Career

Will Smith King Richard trailer screenshot
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

For decades, Will Smith has remained one of Hollywood’s top box-office draws. His dominance led to the phrase “Big Willie Weekend” being coined for the Fourth of July weekends in the 1990s. Within the last decade or so, there has been a notable shift in his film choices as a new crop of blockbuster stars is on the rise. Of course, the Hollywood star was aware of this change. The King Richard star revealed the one thing that’s changed massively about his decades-long career.

His years of Hollywood dominance inspired multiple actors to follow him. In doing so, they have read the Will Smith handbook of selectivity when it comes to picking roles. Smith hasn’t been shy about being selective throughout his career. At one point, the Independence Day star’s main goal was to be a bigger movie star than Tom Cruise. But that mindset appeared to change as the actor admitted the major change in his Hollywood career.

Strategizing about being the biggest movie star in the world — that is all completely over. I realized that in order to enjoy my time here and in order to be helpful, it’s much more about self-examination. I want to take roles where I get to look at myself, where I get to look at my family, I get to look at ideas that are important to me. Everything in my life is more centered on spiritual growth and elevation.

Will Smith has broken records, changed perceptions and earned Hollywood billions of dollars. So he’s earned the right to do more roles focused on his growth. At this point, being visible isn’t about just him anymore. The Bad Boys for Life star revealed to The New York Times Magazine how elevating his co-stars has become his new mission.

So, for example, one of the most important things to me during this process is, I want to make sure that Aunjanue Ellis and Saniyya and Demi are elevated and the world sees their work. I’m not looking for people to clap for me. I have two young actresses that this is their first time around on this level. I want them to feel loved and protected. I want Aunjanue to get her flowers. That is where my attention is in this process versus my attention being on box office or awards. I have as close to zero self-interest in that area as could possibly be.

Making sure his King Richard co-stars get the attention they deserved is a great sign of Smith’s Hollywood evolution. Starting in box office hit after hit doesn’t fulfill the Aladdin star’s needs anymore. Thankfully, Will Smith can do this as he transitions to the next phase of his career.

Will Smith’s willingness to shift his career trajectory has paid off for him with Oscar buzz surrounding his King Richard performance. The biopic is currently playing theaters and on HBO Max.

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