I always wanted to be No 1: Will Smith
The effervescent Hollywood actor Will Smith candidly talks about his obsession with being the best
Will Smith’s all charged up. He breezes into the room full of positive energy and makes the effort to shake hands. He’s made up his mind to give you a good story and he will.
He’s got an infectious smile and he’s got a lot to be happy about. He always wanted to be No 1 and so he’s pleased to hear that he’s the most popular Hollywood actor in India.
According to some surveys, he’s one of the richest actors in the world and whenever the biopic gets made, he is the chosen one to play President Obama.
Back to acting after a long gap, in an exclusive personal interview to promote his next release MIB3, Will also talks about life, his past and his deepest fears.
You are back to acting after a long time. Why the gap?
I think I needed time to grow. Managing my children’s careers has been quite a task. I’ve been helping Jaden with his acting and Willow with her music. I’ve been travelling; we went to Cuba. All of us have been working with some art form or another. And I never realised that it’d all be this big. It’s so rare. It’s been an interesting four years. But hey, Daddy needed to get back to work too (laughs).
MIB3 is all about going back in time. At the press conference, you said you never want to go back in time.
Yes, we had this conversation on the set. I think like, for black people, it’s like better now than ever (laughs). You don’t want to go backwards.
The director (Barry Sonenfeld) has also claimed that you tried to kill him during the shooting.
Yeah. I think it’s just the nature of our relationship that every time we work together, Barry ends up in the hospital. We had these inflatable boxing gloves we’re playing with. So the gloves were huge. So we’re playing and we’re playing, and I punched him and the glove popped and knocked him totally unconscious.
What is this obsession with being the best?
Oh, I always wanted to be no. 1. When I was about six, I used to watch my grandmother leave for work at midnight. It was the worst thing ever; I always imagined fearful ghosts and goblins. That’s when I decided that I’d be tops at everything I did so that no woman in my kingdom would ever have to work at such crazy hours. I started with that mindset but thankfully I have settled back into a much more reasonable frame of mind. I’m not so panicky about it anymore.
Panic? What’s your biggest fear?
Oh yes, my biggest fear is to be terrified. I get so physically sick when I get scared. Fear isn’t real; it causes us to suffer. The worry of what will happen if I jump off a cliff is sometimes worse than the reality. I hate being in the middle of it; I’d rather jump and find out. That’s how I live with my fears.
On rumours about his strained marriage...
Yeah, well, it’s most frustrating. I had to take the position of ‘no comment’ because nobody is interested in hearing the facts from me or Jada (Pinkett-Smith). For instance, once somebody congratulated me for buying an apartment. I clarified to say that he was mistaken, I had not bought the apartment at all.
But the person just laughed and said that he understood if I wanted to keep it confidential. These rounds of stories have just made me realise that I am the least reliable source of information about my own life! There’s nothing you can say to such mean and hurtful gossip, especially since most of it is so anonymous because of the Internet.