Will Smith opened about about his personal life, including his many publicized ups and downs in recent years, along with some insight into his career when he attended the Red Sea International Film Festival in in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
The longtime Hollywood leading man, 55, took part in an on-stage conversation with Lebanese TV host Raya Abirached, in front of a crowd of adoring fans.
The actor seemed to be at ease talking about his ‘many adversities’ over the past couple years and how he’s tried to learn from his mistakes to move forward.
‘I have made tons of mistakes,’ Smith admitted to the lively crowd at the film festival. ‘We love your mistakes,’ a woman yelled out in response.
He appeared to be alluding to his now infamous Oscars slap of host Chris Rock during the 94th Academy Awards in March 2022, and the public issues in his marriage to Jada Pinkett Smith, who revealed recently that they have been living apart since 2016.
Will Smith, 55, reflected on the ups and downs of his life in recent years and his career moving forward at the Red Sea International Film Festival in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
‘I have made tons of mistakes,’ Smith admitted to the lively crowd at the film festival
The In Conversation session at the Vox Cinema complex at the city’s Red Sea Mall began with a highlight reel of his career, which drew plenty of applause and cheers, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Smith entered the cinema down a set of stairs, setting off an eruption of enthusiasm from the audience, who proceeded to demand high-fives and seemingly countless selfies from the actor as he made his way to the stage.
Dressed in a red long-sleeve top with brown slacks and matching ankle boots, Smith looked both fit and fashionable for the sit-down.
He went on to reveal that he has been able work through some of his issues with the help of famed musician and producer Quincy Jones, whom he called a trusted advisor and mentor.
‘Quincy has always made himself available,’ Smith said, before adding, ‘He wants me to win as a human. He is devoted to me as a human, not just as an artist.’
At times sounding confessional and in other instances self-deprecating, Smith pondered what fame has meant to his life since being thrusted into the public eye – first as a rap star as one-half of DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince in late 1980s.
But by 1990, he added TV star to his resume with the success of his sitcom The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air (1990-1996), which seemed to be the catalyst of his transition into becoming a top A-list leading man in film.
‘Fame is a unique monster and I’ve had to be really careful,’ the father of three told the crowd, before elaborating some lessons he’s learned along the way.
When talking about his ‘many adversities’, Smith alluded to his now infamous Oscars slap of host Chris Rock during the 94th Academy Awards in March 2022
The Philadelphia native took part in an on-stage conversation with Lebanese TV host Raya Abirached, which included interactions with the audience
The Hollywood leading man entered the Vox Cinema complex at the city’s Red Sea Mall the cinema down a set of stairs, setting off an eruption cheers from the audience
During his walk down the stairs to the stage for his conversation Smith proceeded to do countless selfies and high-fives with the adoring fans
‘You can’t get excited when everybody is saying good things about you because the more you take when people are saying good things, the more hurt you’re going to be when people are saying bad things about you.’
He added, ‘I have to be clear about who I am and what I am attempting to do in the world. And I can’t need others to applaud for me to stay focused on my mission. I want you to feel good. And at the same time, I am deeply human. And I am in the process of perfecting my virtue.’
Last month Jada confirmed she has no plans to divorce Will after recently revealing they’ve been secretly separated since 2016.
One month after making the shocking revelation about their marriage in her memoir, Worthy, the actress, 52, revealed she and the Oscar winner plan on upholding their lifelong commitment to another.
While appearing on The Drew Barrymore show, the titular host, 48, told Jada that it seemed like she and Will were planning on ‘staying together forever.’
‘We’re staying together forever,’ Jada answered. ‘I tried. We tried,’ alluding to her and Will’s years-long separation that they kept tightly under wraps from the public.
Previously, at a publicity event for her tell-all, Jada revealed that she was ‘not leaving Will’s side’ and he’s ‘not going to leave’ hers.
Meanwhile, Will admitted he and his wife have ‘had a very, very long and tumultuous [relationship]’ in front of a large audience at the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore.
‘We call it ‘brutiful.’ It was brutal and beautiful at the same time,’ he said, according to the Baltimore Sun.
Last month his wife Jada Pinkett Smith confirmed she has not plans to divorce him, after revealing they’ve been secretly separated since 2016 (pictured in 2022)
In October, Jada admitted that she decided to stay by Will’s side, the moment he slapped Chris Rock at the 94th Academy Awards in 2022.
‘I knew it was going to be an intense reaction. And that was the moment that I decided that I was going to stay by his side,’ she said on The One Show. ‘You know, it’s funny how intense situations can amplify love, and it was a pretty difficult time, but it definitely drew us closer. So yeah, it’s, crazy how things work.’
In the explosive memoir, she has revealed how the dynamics of her marriage with famous actor and Will changed after the Oscars.
The pair had secretly separated six years prior to the incident, with Jada confessing: ‘I’m not thinking in a million years he’s getting up on stage and it has anything to do with me!’
Speaking to Red magazine, she added: ‘That’s when your relationship gets deeper than romance or all the c**p that comes with marriage.
‘I was just really concerned about Will. And I realised in that moment that, as challenging as our relationship can be, I’m always going to be by his side, no matter what.’
At the 94th Academy Awards, Will strode onto the stage and slapped Chris after the comedian cracked a joke about Jada looking like ‘G.I. Jane’ because of her bald head when she had recently revealed that was suffering from alopecia.
While she and Will were living separately at the time, Jada explained that they’ve always had each other’s backs, more so now that they’re apart.
At the 94th Academy Awards, Will strode onto the stage and slapped Chris after the comedian cracked a joke about Jada looking like ‘G.I. Jane’ because of her bald head
Another big takeaway from Will’s latest appearance is his confirmation that I Am Legend 2 has been greenlit and that Michael B. Jordan will be among his co-stars.
‘I have a call with Michael B. Jordan tomorrow,’ Smith said just as he stopped himself from revealing too many premature details. ‘I can’t tell you any more.’
But in fact, he did tell more when he shared about about how the new story will get around the idea that his character, Dr, Robert Neville, dies in the original film I Am Legend (2007).
Smith said the writers will be coming from a point of view of the alternate ending scene that was made available in the DVD version. ‘So we are going with the mythology of the DVD version where my character lived,’ Smith declared.
The post-apocalyptic action thriller film was a big hit in terms of the worldwide box office, grossing a whopping $585.4 million against a budget of $150 million.
Directed by Francis Lawrence from a screenplay by Mark Protosevich and Akiva Goldsman the cast also starred Alice Braga, Dash Mihok, Charlie Tahan, Emma Thompson, Salli Richardson and Smith’s real-life daughter Willow Smith.
Smith briefly touched on Bad Boys 4 and how his buddy cop franchise with Martin Lawrence was also in the works with Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah returning as directors.
Moving forward, the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania native said he wants to focus more on being a teacher.
‘There is a style of global storytelling,’ Smith said, and that he wants to be apart of helping tweak their stories in order for them to go worldwide.
The big career takeaway from his appearance at the film festival in Saudi Arabia was his confirmation that I Am Legend 2 has been greenlit and will also star Michael B. Jordan; Smith pictured in a still from the movie
‘So we are going with the mythology of the DVD version where my character lived,’ Smith said when tackling the issue of his character dying in the theater version in 2007; he is pictured in a scene with his real-life daughter Willow Smith
‘So I am excited to travel the world and collaborate and be able to build a global storytelling community,’ he said, with the hope that the exchange of stories ‘creates bridges’ and ‘heels wounds.’
He added, ‘I just don’t feel politics will necessarily create the change. So I am putting the burden on myself and global artists.’
By the end of the conversation Smith described his goal for the next stage of his life as: ‘Perfecting and shining my light.’
After another round of fan friendly photos and selfies with the adoring crowd, Smith left the event much like he arrived: to the loud applause of fans.
‘Thank you so much, all. This has been fantastic,’ he said as his parting words.