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Will Smith Reveals The One Career Doubt He Had Ahead Of King Richard’s Release

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

With awards season in full swing, Will Smith's King Richard is starting to rake in major award nominations and wins. Most recently, the actor scored a Golden Globe for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama. However, it’s been some time since Smith and Oscar have been uttered in the same sentence. The star has turned in memorable performances, but the golden guy has always eluded him. That perception hasn’t bypassed the Hollywood star by any means and, just recently the star opened up about the one career doubt he had before his latest film was released.

Will Smith has spent most of his career being one of Hollywood’s top-earning movie stars. That mentality has shifted in recent years, though, as he has focused more on smaller films and less on blockbusters. According to Smith, he had been looking for a film like King Richard for years. The Gemini Man star was honest with Entertainment Tonight, as he compared the sports drama to another acclaimed movie of his:

You always hear that cliche, 'Oh, I laughed, I cried,' [but] it's one of those films that really covers a broad spectrum of emotion and ideas, that's truly rare. I had secretly in my mind felt that I would never make anything better than The Pursuit of Happyness, and I never said that out loud, but I felt like I would never make anything better than The Pursuit of Happyness and then I saw King Richard.

With all due respect to his other past films, the Aladdin star holds The Pursuit of Happyness in high regard. That just so happened to be the last time he was nominated for an Oscar. The fact that he equates the emotional spectrum of the Venus and Serena Williams-centric movie to that of the 2006 drama says a lot. But of course, that comparison didn’t come to him until he saw the finished film. In the same interview, he recalled what it was like watching the completed project for the first time:

This one is special, it's still going, and you know it's funny, because you make the movie and then there's a period when you're away from it, while it's being edited and put together and all that, so you get distance from it. So, by the time the film is coming out, you've potentially made one or two other things, and you've moved on in your mind, so when the audience sees it, it's almost like you're getting to see it again for the first time, along with the audience, and I was completely and utterly blown away at what Ray [Green} was able to do so delicately with this film.

As Will Smith pointed out, actors tend to disassociate themselves from a previous job as they move on to other projects. He seemed to gain a new appreciation for the drama upon seeing the final product. Compared to his past releases, King Richard, whose subject first inspired Smith years ago, seemed to be a project that he and his castmates held close to their hearts. I'd say that’s why Oscar buzz for the film continues to grow. Fans will surely be waiting intently to see if Smith manages to land a nomination.

King Richard is set to arrive on DVD and Blu-ray on Feb. 8.

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