There always seem to be rumors flying around Will Smith. Is he a Scientologist? He says he’s not, even though he’s given them money in the past. What’s up with him and Jada? Don’t know, but something has to be going on there, right? How did Jaden and Willow turn out to be the beautiful, enlightened androgynous space gurus that they are? Who cares? They give great interviews. But there’s one aspect of his life about which Smith is willing to be completely candid: He knows Wild Wild West was a mistake.
Smith said as much at the the Cannes Lions marketing conference—which, frankly, sounds terrible in everything but the free stuff department—earlier this week, where he told what The Hollywood Reporter calls an “enraptured audience” that he knows he fucked up on that one, and he’s sorry, but he really wanted to be a global household name at the time:
I had so much success that I started to taste global blood and my focus shifted from my artistry to winning. I wanted to win and be the biggest movie star, and what happened was there was a lag — around Wild Wild West time — I found myself promoting something because I wanted to win versus promoting something because I believed in it.
According to Smith—who “consider[s] [himself] a marketer”—though, Hollywood can’t get away with presenting the public with a big stinky bag of steam-powered bullshit like that anymore thanks to the power/scourge of social media. “Back in the ’80s and ’90s you had a piece of crap movie you put a trailer with a lot of explosions and it was Wednesday before people knew your movie was shit,” he said. “But now what happens is 10 minutes into the movie, people are tweeting ‘This is shit, go see Vin Diesel.’” His apology for After Earth remains forthcoming.