Rapper. Producer. TV legend. Movie star. Is there anything Will Smith can’t do? He’s won Grammys and been nominated for Oscars. His movies have made billions of dollars. He even came back from near-bankruptcy when he was just a kid. And now, the Fresh Prince is one of the most famous and successful people in the world. But do you know all of the lesser-known Will Smith trivia out there? In addition to being a great rapper, Smith is a crazy versatile actor. He’s a guy who can seemingly do any kind of movie. Like action movies? Try Bad Boys, Enemy of the State, and Independence Day. Prefer action comedies? How about Men in Black, MIIB, and Hancock. Dramas? There’s always Seven Pounds, Ali, and The Pursuit of Happyness. What can’t this guy do?
But who is Will Smith? What’s his regular, day-to-day life like outside his movie roles? Do you know about some of the bolder career moves he made early on? His rap background? His career as a producer? His pure and insurmountable will power? (We didn’t intend for that pun, but it works).
He Was a Millionaire Before He Turned 20
He Can Solve a Rubik’s Cube in Under a Minute
Source: Rubik’s Cube
He Could Have Gotten in to MIT
He Really Was Born and Raised in West Philadelphia
He’s Back to Making Music
To top it off, he announced a tour with the new album so fans can get jiggy all over again! He even said he’d be bringing back DJ Jazzy Jeff. “Jeff and I actually never have done a full tour, I was always on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, I was always making a movie so we’ve never actually done a full tour. So I’m looking for [this] summer to be the first time that we go out on a full world tour.”
Source: Huffington Post
He Was Still Producing Hits While on “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air”
He was still promoting one album (And in this Corner…) when the show started, and released another two records while on the show – Homebase, which had both “Summertime” and “Ring my Bell” on it, as well as Code Red.
That’d be like if Kanye West was the lead of a show starring Kanye about Kanye’s life, and still releasing number one tracks and headlining shows as Kanye.
His Movies Have Made Almost $3 Billion
Internationally his 22 films have made over $6.5 billion!
He’s a Really Successful Producer
Source: Overbrook Entertainment
He Was Known as Mr. Fourth of July in the Late ’90s
He Thought “Wild Wild West” Was a Terrible Movie
“My biggest emotional defeat and the greatest emotional pain I’ve had as an actor was when Wild Wild West opened up to $52 million. The movie wasn’t good. And it hurt so bad to be the number one movie, to open at $52 million and to know the movie wasn’t good.”
He Won a Grammy Before He Could Legally Drink
The next year he’d be up for three MTV Video Music Awards. In 1990 he got another Grammy nom. In ’91, he landed yet another Grammy and a MTV VMA. In ’92, another Grammy win.
And then he got into acting!
In 1993 he received his first acting nomination and it was his very first major role. (A Golden Globe nomination for The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.) By 2001 he was nominated for an Oscar for his performance in Ali. The man is unstoppable.
Nas Helped Him Write “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It”
“Alright, let’s clear this up once and for all. I hung out with Will in the studio. And watched him write it. It was a fun studio session, and I said a line or two or three to him. It wasn’t that serious. Will Smithwrote that song. But seriously, I watched him have fun making that record on his own, and Will is a true MC,”
Source: Genius.com (From a Reddit AMA)
Eight of His Movies (in a Row) Made More Than $100 Million
Everything between 2002’s Men in Black II to 2008’s Hancock blew up at the box office. That includesMIIB, Bad Boys II, I,Robot, Shark Tale, Hitch, The Pursuit of Happyness, I Am Legend, and Hancock. A few of these films made much more than that, two of them even topped $200 million.
He Met DJ Jazzy Jeff When He Was Only 16
The pair always set out to make fun, friendly, curse-free raps, avoiding the gangster rap that was coming out at the time.
He Decided Not to Be the One
Fortunately Will Smith bounced back with an onslaught of hits, and harbors no regrets or ill will for missing that one. He simply doesn’t think he was the right man for the job, and that Keanu was.
“That’s the role Keanu was born to play. When I watch the movie and I see the choices he made, there are a hundred occasions when I think, ‘I would have messed that up.'”
Source: Contact Music
He Nearly Went Bankrupt in His Early 20s
Luckily, he got his gig on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air soon after,and he was able to pay off his debt. He reportedly had to pay 70% of every check directly to the government.
He Founded a Private Elementary School
His Net Worth Is Around a Quarter Billion Dollars
He Named His Production Company After His High School
His production company, Overbrook Entertainment, is named after the local high school.
He Turned Down “Django Unchained”
“Django wasn’t the lead, so it was like, I need to be the lead,” Smith said. “The other character was the lead!”
He further explained how much he liked the screenplay and that the two even sat down and tried to work through it. But in the end, even though he thought the script was brilliant, it just wasn’t for him.
Source: Huffington Post
His First Record Producer Tried to Kill Him
“I mean, during the first part of my music career, we signed our first deal with a gangster who later tried to shoot us,” Will said. “He was a penny-ante gangster, but the bullets were for real. As we were driving away, he shot at the car five or six times. It was pretty scary, but you don’t think about that while it’s happening, you’re just trying to get away. He would have killed us if he could actually shoot.”