It’s a story that many know by heart. It starts with “West Philadelphia born and bred.” Now in an original Entertainment Studios documentary Will Smith: The New Prince of Hollywoodthe life of Oscar winner Will Smith is explored, showing how the “Fresh Prince” became royalty of the film industry.
It is available now at leGrio free via Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Roku and Android TV.
With comments from Dr Jennifer Otter Bickerdikean acclaimed cultural writer, Will Smith: The New Prince of Hollywood follows Smith’s initial success as a Grammy-winning rapper for the hit TV show, The prince of Bel-Air.
Bickerdike explains that a conversation with fresh prince co-star Alfonso Ribiero was a pivotal moment in Smith’s career.
“He said to Will, ‘You should call your character Will Smith because people are going to yell at you when they see you on the street,'” she shares. “And, of course, Alfonso already had that experience as a child actor and growing up in front of the camera.”
She notes that the decision “cemented the Will Smith brand at a fairly early stage in his acting career.”
The prince of Bel-Air debuted on NBC on September 10, 1990, for six seasons and 148 episodes. It was recently revived as a drama, Bel-Airbroadcast on Peacock TV, NBC’the streaming platform.
Will Smith: The New Prince of Hollywood also delves into how a memorable TV moment opened the door to an incomparable movie career.
In the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air episode, “Dad’s Got a Brand New Excuse”, which first aired on May 9, 1994, Smith performed an emotional monologue about his character’s deadpan father that struck a chord with viewers.
As Bickerdike explains, the episode came shortly after Smith’s film debut, SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATIONbut before his first big success, Bad Boys.
Dr. Bickerdike also explains how, on leaving independence day in 1996 – at the time the second-highest-grossing film of all time – that July 4 weekend became known as “Big Willie Weekend”, solidifying its mark as a box office draw .
“Everyone loves Will Smith,” she says. “You want to see him succeed. I think that’s another thing that everyone buys into when they’ve gone to see his movies on the “Big Willie” weekend.
The New Prince of Hollywood also explored Smith’s personal life. He married Sheree Zampino in 1992 and had a son together, Will, Jr., known as Trey. The couple divorced in 1995. Smith married actress Jada Pinkett in 1997.
Even then, the couple was very public about their determination to stay married for life. “There are no dealbreakers,” Smith reportedly said. “Nothing she could do would break our relationship.
The documentary showed how Smith combined his acting and rapping skills, combining a song release with a movie, which would increase the film’s exposure. But his 1998 hit “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It,” made between movies, won a Grammy and became a cultural catchphrase.
“You’ll always have detractors,” Smith said at a press conference for the 1999 Grammy Awards. “But I just feel like there’s a lot more people giving me positive energy. , and I don’t react to the negative energy. I just allow it to continue to overtake me. He adds with a laugh, “You fight fire with water.”
From appearing in movies with her youngest son, Jaden, to supporting her daughter, Willow’s acting and music career, Smith’s family has become a priority. The doc notes that the actor took a year off after failing to After EarthSmith’s second film with Jaden after his Oscar-nominated role The pursuit of happiness.
Upon his return, Smith chose different types of roles and became active on social media, quickly amassing millions of followers on Instagram and YouTube.
“Will is someone who is a technology provider,” Dr. Bickerdike says of the star’s 2017 social media debut. ‘He’s the closest person,’ she said. “He’s like you, even though he’s the most bankable movie star – probably in the world.”
Although Smith has spent most of his life in the public eye, this documentary reveals some lesser-known facts about his journey from West Philly rapper to self-made movie superstar. Despite her recent actions at the Oscars, it shows how Smith has earned her place in the entertainment stratosphere.
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