With Collateral Beauty hitting theaters for another Oscar push, Will Smith is back on the promotion circuit looking to garner praise and look towards the future. The problem is that people seem primed to only talk about his past. That’s what seems to be behind his drive to leave some of his well-known franchises behind and move onto newer things. He hasn’t changed his mind about a return to The Fresh Prince and as he said during a Facebook Live interview at Facebook Headquarters, it’s why he chose Suicide Squad over Independence Day this summer.
ID4 was Smith’s first really huge film hit at the box office, earning him the “king of July 4th” title way back in 1996. But when asked about a return, he first said that it just wasn’t the time and that he was broken up by how his character met his end. But he seemed to have a different tune during the FB interview:
“I had the two screenplays in front of me for the Independence Day 2 and for Suicide Squad. I had to choose between the two of those,” Smith said. “Even the choice of going to Suicide Squad — nothing about the qualities of the movie — but the choice of trying to go forward versus clinging and clawing backwards. I do want to aggressively go forward and do new things and create and hopefully be able to stumble upon a new heyday.”
As they point out over at i09, Smith doesn’t seem to have a problem returning to Bad Boys for two more films, so it’s a little confusing. I do believe the comments from Roland Emmerich saying Smith did not want to commit to four science fiction movies in a row, back when Independence Day was going to be a franchise shot back-to-back and Smith had just finished After Earth.
At the end of the day, this seems like the best decision for Smith. Both films were critically panned, but Suicide Squad was a hit at the box office. I also wouldn’t hold out hope for Collateral Beauty winning out at the Oscars. If Will Smith is talking to inanimate objects, he doesn’t need an Oscar.