In 1997, Will Smith almost refused to participate in the film “Men in Black” (MIB – Men in Black), where he starred with Tommy Lee Jones. However, the Hollywood star was convinced otherwise thanks to the persistence of the film’s producer, Steven Spielberg.
In an interview with the talk show Hart to Heart, Smith revealed that he considered turning down the role after Independence Day debuted in 1996:
I kind of understood Men in Black a little, but I didn’t want to be in that movie. It was the year after Independence Day. I didn’t want to do two alien films in a row. […] Steven Spielberg sent a helicopter for me, I was in New York at the time, and took me to his house. He immediately convinced me of a “welcome”… This was the first time I tried lemonade with sparkling water. This is impossible to refuse.
Spielberg, who, according to the actor, did not want to waste a second, first asked him why he did not want to make a film.
He was cold and said, “Tell me why you don’t want to be in my film…He was the producer. I felt the ‘ellipsis’ at the end of the sentence, it had ‘dot, dot, dot’ in it.” If he had continued , he would say: “Clown, you know that I made Jaws, right? Do you know that I filmed “Alien”?”.
It was Spielberg’s words that convinced Smith to agree to participate in the film “Men in Black”, which became another bright blockbuster for the young actor. The film earned $589 million worldwide and became Smith’s second film franchise after Bad Boys. The success of Independence Day and Men in Black cemented Smith’s movie star status in the late 1990s.