Rubik’s Cube is the world’s best-selling puzzle game, and some of Hollywood’s biggest stars couldn’t resist its charm. Is Will Smith one of the celebrities who can solve it with ease?
Will Smith can do a Rubik’s Cube – he mastered this skill on the set of 2006 film The Pursuit of Happyness, with the help of a team of speedcubing champions. He also demonstrated his Rubik’s Cube solving skills during several live interviews.
“The Pursuit of Happyness”
Will Smith delivered one of his best performances in The Pursuit of Happyness, and received an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of struggling salesman Chris Gardner, who’s trying to turn his life around while taking care of his son.
This film takes place during the early ‘80s, when Rubik’s Cubes were all the rage, and one the most memorable scenes shows Smith’s character solving the complicated puzzle during a short cab ride. He manages to prove his brain power to an important stockbroker with this skill, and he eventually invites him to intern at his firm.
Smith wasn’t exactly a Rubik’s Cube pro before filming this movie, but he was familiar with it. He already had an encounter with this puzzle on the set of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air – his character managed to impress a Princeton University representative after managing to solve Rubik’s Cube in the episode “The Alma Matter”.
This scene was heavily edited, and Smith wanted to take things seriously in The Pursuit of Happyness. Speedcubing champions Tyson Mao, Toby Mao, and Lars Petrus came on board, and taught the actor how to get all the colored sides to match in two minutes or less.
“The first thought was that we could get a hand double. Will Smith didn’t want that. It seemed to me he wanted to really just understand the character, so he wanted to learn to solve the Rubik’s Cube on his own, and he wanted to do this genuinely on-camera,” Tyson Mao told Chicago Tribune.
Solving Rubik’s Cube Live
Will Smith’s ability to solve Rubik’s Cube in less than two minutes may not seem like anything special once you know there are speedcubers who can do the same in the matter of seconds. Entertainment reporters seem to disagree, and they often expressed interest in Smith’s special talent, and even asked him to solve the colorful puzzle on live air.
The Pursuit of Happyness has been credited for renewing interest in Rubik’s Cube. This popular toy never struggled finding new buyers, but it experienced a true resurgence after Smith’s character solved it in an attempt to impress a potential business associate in this Oscar-nominated film. The New York Times reported that global sales of Rubik’s Cube hit a new high of 15 million in 2008, after Will Smith put it back in the spotlight.
Celebrities & Rubik’s Cube
The Pursuit of Happyness isn’t the only movie where a Rubik’s Cube was used to demonstrate high intelligence of fictional characters. This is a pretty popular movie and TV trope, and it was also featured in films Let the Right One In, Donnie Darko, Armageddon, and many more.
Will Smith doesn’t seem to be the only celebrity who mastered this skill. Justin Bieber can also solve Rubik’s Cube in less than two minutes – he’s been a fan of this puzzle for years, and he famously showed his moves in an episode of James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke.
The Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt also enjoys solving Rubik’s Cubes, but his time is not as good as Smith’s and Bieber’s since it usually takes him around three minutes to get all the colors right. Hip-hop star Logic is great at solving Rubik’s Cubes, as well, which makes a lot of sense since you have to use logic to get to the bottom of this colorful puzzle.