Will Smith has been around since the ‘90s and he managed to establish himself as one of Hollywood’s biggest and most bankable stars over the course of the last three decades. Could retirement be in the books for the two-time Oscar-nominated actor?
Will Smith isn’t retired, and his recent filmography includes box office hits Aladdin and Bad Boys for Life. He currently has several projects in development, so it’s highly unlikely he’ll retreat from Hollywood in a nearby future.
A Break From Acting
Will Smith had a strong presence in Hollywood ever since the iconic sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air put him on the map, but there have been years when he hadn’t starred in any new projects. Before returning for the role in Men in Black 3 in 2012, he took a two year-long break from acting because he was going through a rough patch in his career and personal life.
Smith also hasn’t appeared in any new films after Netflix flick Bright came out in 2017, but eventually decided to accept the role of Genie in Aladdin. Taking a break always felt like the right choice, because it gave him time to grow as a person.
“I spent those couple of years really learning and growing and expanding. I really feel like I got to the ceiling of what I would be able to have and be and do in my life,” explained Smith.
Smith’s Recent Roles
When Disney decided to do a live remake of Aladdin, they were facing one extremely difficult casting choice – finding the perfect actor to play Genie. Will Smith agreed to give it a try, but admitted he “started off fearful” since he had some big shoes to fill. Replacing Robin Williams felt like a mission impossible, but he did his best to make the role his own.
When the first trailer arrived, fans weren’t pleased with blue CGI Genie, but reactions were much better once we learnt that he won’t spend the entire movie in this form. He received several award nominations for his performance, and Aladdin went on to become the highest-grossing film of his career so far, after earning $1 billion worldwide.
That same year, Smith appeared in the critical and box office bomb Gemini Man, and voiced one of the main characters in animated film Spies in Disguise. He also reunited with Martin Lawrence in the action comedy Bad Boys for Life, the third installment in the Bad Boys franchise that proved the world he’s an action star in the making.
Bad Boys for Life became the highest-grossing movie of 2020, before many theaters around the world closed down due to the coronavirus crises. Its success opened the doors for another sequel, and Sony tapped Chris Bremner to write the script.
Smith was also cast as the lead in King Richard, a promising biopic that follows Richard Williams – coach and father of tennis legends Venus and Serena Williams. He’s also attached to two more Netflix movies – a sequel to Bright, and crime biopic The Council, which centers on Harlem crime boss Nicky Barnes.
Still Making Music?
Will Smith found such a huge success as an actor that it’s easy to forget that he actually started his rise to fame as a member of the hip-hop duo DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince. His music career eventually took a back seat, but he never fully gave it up.
The role in Aladdin gave him a chance to be a part of another hit soundtrack, and he performed some of the movies biggest musical numbers, including “Friend Like Me”, and “Prince Ali”. He also joined the remix of Joyner Lucas’s song “Will” in 2020, which was recorded in the actor’s honor and featured several references to his life and career.