Will Smith Refused to Work With Jackie Chan in $244M Movie That Spanned Into $850M Fan-Favorite Franchise

Everyone knows Will Smith for his iconic role in the Men In Black franchise. The actor-rapper has also starred in the popular show Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The 1990 sitcom was a strong start to his career as an actor, and since then his career has flourished.

Recently, Will Smith has been in the eye of the storm due to his very publically turbulent marriage with his wife Jada Smith. The Bel-Air star made headlines for slapping Chris Rock on stage when the latter made a joke about Jada Smith.

Will SmithWill Smith at the 94th Academy Awards nominees luncheon
The actor has been able to secure a global fanbase with his talent and personality. He has also received an Academy Award, Grammy, Golden Globe Award, and much more for his memorable performances.

Why Will Smith Turned Down Rush Hour Role

Rush Hour is an exciting 1998 action-comedy directed by Brett Ratner. The daredevil Jackie Chan teams up with comedic powerhouse Chris Tucker in the film.

Ratner claims Rush hour to be one of the first films where Jackie Chan acted without any dubbing. Director Brett Ratner said it added to the authenticity of his character, Lee. Originally, Will Smith was approached for the role of detective Carter in the franchise.

Rush Hour Chris Tucker Jackie Chan 1Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan in Rush Hour
That’s right, Chris Tucker wasn’t Ratner’s first choice for the part. Other actors considered for the role included Dave Chappelle and Martin Lawrence. The Men In Black actor turned down the role, saying he didn’t want to be part of another buddy cop movie. And so, Chris Tucker came in and audiences missed the chance to watch what would have been hilarious chemistry between Jackie Chan and Will Smith. However, Tucker delivered an impressive performance and also improvised a good chunk of the scenes to create the masterpiece that is Rush Hour.

The movie was a huge success and a fan favorite. It made $850 million in box office collections. It went on to have a total of three installments starring the duo.

Some Major Roles Rejected by Will Smith

Apart from Rush Hour, Will Smith has rejected many roles in his career. Some of these include Superman Returns, Mr & Mrs. Smith, Django unchained, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. However, Smith rejected one role which he admitted to regret deeply, and that was Neo from The Matrix. The role that made was eventually offered to Keanu Reeves and he was the best fit for it.

The MatrixKeanu Reeves in The Matrix

The Matrix proved to be a revolutionary film in the action genre. When the script was presented to Smith, however, he was unimpressed and said that the narrative wasn’t strong enough. Smith had previously starred in Independence Day, which faced losses at the box office. Although The Matrix was well received, Smith didn’t wish to be a part of any more alien projects.
“I had done ‘Independence Day’ the year before, so I was like, ‘Eh, I’m not doing another alien movie, I don’t want to be the alien movie guy’. It’s a hard movie to pitch. You know: ‘Everybody lives inside a computer.’ It was only when I saw it that I really got it. They came in and made a pitch for ‘The Matrix’. As it turns out, they’re geniuses. But there’s a fine line in a pitch meeting between genius and what I experienced in the meeting.”
The role of Neo was later given to Keanu Reeves, who said that it impacted his life personally and creatively and that it was a wonderful, life-changing experience. The John Wick star went on to say that he was thankful to Will Smith for rejecting the role.

Source: Cinema Blend

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