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Creator / Will Smith

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"Whether he's playing a cool young fighter pilot in Independence Day or a 19th century steampunk cowboy in Wild Wild West or a Converse-wearing Luddite in I, Robot, there's something distinctly ... Will Smithian about every piece of dialogue he delivers. All of the other actors in his movies are saying lines in the script that either further the plot or set up jokes, while Will Smith gets to say things like 'Aw, hell no' and 'Now that's what I'm talking about' and a variety of other 'Will Smith lines,' for lack of a better term."

Willard Carroll Smith II (born September 25, 1968 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is an American actor and rapper.

In West Philadelphia born and raised, on the playground is where he spent most of his days, chillin' out, maxin', relaxin' all cool, until Smith first entered the public eye as part of DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, a lighthearted hip-hop duo with hits including "Parents Just Don't Understand" and "Summertime". He really came to fame with the NBC series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, a successful and iconic sitcom that he only signed onto because most of his possessions were taken by the IRS as punishment for tax evasion.

Smith then moved on into what has become a very successful acting career. While initially focused on lighthearted comedies and popcorn action, his Uncle Tomfoolery days are pretty much gone, with Smith playing semi-serious or serious roles most of the time now and his comedic acting not being race-based. It also helps that he is the undisputed lead in any movie he's in, one of the few Black actors at this status. His most famous roles... well, the list is sort of legendary. Just have a look at his IMDB profile. Adding to this, even his stinkers tend to suck in tons of money; the failure of Wild Wild West prompted Smith to observe, "That's how big I am. I bomb over $100 million." Of all the films Smith has been the star of, only three (all biopics) have failed to make back their budgetsnote  — Smith is that much of a box office draw. He's also one of the best-paid actors, pulling salaries estimated at $20 million per movie.

In any given movie, expect a Shirtless Scene and expect him as well to say "AW, HELL NAW!" at some point. The 44th President of the United States also wouldn't mind being portrayed by him in a movie.

Smith has been married to Jada Pinkett Smith since 1997, and they have two children who are also in show business through acting and music: Jaden and Willow. (He additionally has a son, Trey, from an earlier marriage.) He is also the founder of Overbrook Entertainment (named after the high school in Philly he attended), whose films he produces.

Two decades after his first nomination, Smith finally won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in King Richard in 2022. Unfortunately for him, this was after he controversially slapped Chris Rock for making a joke about his wife during the ceremony, which significantly overshadowed both his win and the ceremony as a whole in media coverage. He subsequently publicly apologized to Rock and resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and eventually received a ten-year ban from attending the Academy Awards and affiliated ceremonies.

Not to be confused with legendary tough-guy actor William Smith. Also, tropes that specifically pertain to his years with DJ Jazzy Jeff should be put on their own page.



With DJ Jazzy Jeff
  • Rock the House (1987)
  • He's the DJ, I'm the Rapper (1988)
  • And in This Corner... (1989)
  • Homebase (1991)
  • Code Red (1993)

His works provide examples of:

  • Buddy Cop Show: Plays one member of the pair of protagonists in several movies belonging to this subgenre, notably the Bad Boys (1995) and Men in Black series.
  • Catchphrase:
    • "Aw, hell naw!", usually uttered in a This Is Gonna Suck moment.
    • "Day-um" drawn out into two syllables, as an expression of shock.
  • The Cover Changes the Meaning:
    • Will turned "Just the Two of Us", Bill Withers' song about a man's love for his woman, into a song about a man's love for his son.
    • His reprises of songs from Aladdin for the 2019 live action adaptation include new lyrics.
  • The Danza: "Will Smith" in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Smith has stated in multiple interviews that co-star Alfonso Ribeiro advised him to do this as people would spend the rest of his life calling him by his character's name, so he may as well get them to yell his real name. He was quickly proven right whenver they went out together and had people yelling "Will!" and "Hey, Carlton!" at them.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: Not surprising given that he was a rapper before he was an actor, he did the themes for a number of his movies. "Men in Black" and "Wild Wild West", and became radio hits. He did all the songs for the Genie in 2019's Aladdin as well as "Arabian Nights".
  • Gratuitous Spanish:
    • Since he was a featured artist on the Marc Anthony and Bad Bunny song "Esta Rico", this was bound to happen.
      Will Smith: (spoken) Haciendo historia!
      Sacude tu cadera, always taking pictures, laughing, blowing kisses...
    • It also happens in "Miami" - the last line of the chorus is "Bienvenidos a Miami" ("welcome to Miami") - and randomly throws in "medianoche"note  in a line in "Will 2K".
  • I Am Not Leonard Nimoy: It's much easier to think of his character as "Will Smith". Turned out he was straight out invoking this with The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. He chose to go by his actual name so that he would never be "associated" with the character's name, supposedly on the advice of Alfonso Ribeiro (who already struggled to leave behind his Silver Spoons character, and will be Carlton for the rest of his life).
  • Large Ham: In his earlier days he was this, especially on the Fresh Prince.
  • Mid-Vid Skit: The "Wild Wild West" music video is a Talky Bookend in which Will's character from said film, Jim West, wakes up from a nightmare involving the movie's villain Dr. Loveless. Salma Hayek's Rita Escobar comforts him, goes to get him something and is promptly kidnapped by Loveless' henchwomen. Just after the last third of the song starts up, a chandelier comes crashing down, kicking off a scene where Jim rescues Rita.
  • Mr. Fanservice: He often gets shirtless scenes, and it's taken even further in I, Robot, wherein he's shown completely naked and showering at one point and in Wild Wild West.
  • Playing Against Type: The titular Hancock of Hancock and Deadshot in Suicide Squad (2016) are angry assholes with just enough heart to make them likable, in contrast with his usually cool and charm characters.
  • Precision F-Strike: Smith did this at the 94th Academy Awards after slapping Chris Rock in retaliation for a joke he made about Jada Pinkett Smith's hair loss, twice yelling "keep my wife's name out your fucking mouth!"
  • Race Lift:
  • Shout-Out: He got one from Eminem in "The Real Slim Shady" (responds to a line "All you rappers yellin' bout who you put in a hearse, do me a favor, write one verse without a curse" from Will's "Freakin' it"). Will Smith don't gotta cuss in his raps to sell records / Well, I do / So fuck him and fuck you too! Ironically, Eminem and Dr. Dre appeared on the Wild Wild West soundtrack.
  • Star-Making Role:
  • Tom Hanks Syndrome: Started off as a comical coming actor, now he is becoming more of a dramatic actor taking on more serious roles, eventually winning an Academy Award for King Richard.
  • Transatlantic Equivalent: He was the American equivalent to Slick Rick during his early "Fresh Prince" days, with Will debuting just slightly after Rick did, and having used a similar narrative style in his songs. However, facing declining record sales in 1991, Will would eventually move away from Slick Rick's style, and develop what would eventually become his "Big Willie" style of rapping.
  • Uncle Tomfoolery: Started his career like this especially as Will in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Agent J in the first Men in Black and Oscar the fish in Shark Tale the animated movie fit as well.
  • Urban Legend: No, he never got into MIT as widely believed. He never even applied to any universities coming out of high school because he wanted to rap. He went to a summer program at the school before he made his mind up to not to go to college to see if he liked engineering but decided it wasn’t for him. He says that he had a really high grade point average and SAT scores, his parents had a friend who worked there, and they were actively looking for more black kids at the time, so he probably could have gotten in but he’ll never know for sure.
  • Verbal Tic: "Ha-ha!", 'WOOO!", Whaaat whaaat", and "Uuhhh" (that last one was actually a song title on Willennium).
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Per his 2021 memoir Will, he was offered a role in 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag, but turned it down on the advice of his manager.
    • Was the original first choice to play Neo in The Matrix but passed up on it to be in Wild Wild West (though amusingly enough, his wife was cast in the sequels as Niobe). Smith is philosophical about it though, saying the casting of Neo and Morpheus was perfect and he would probably have messed the film up if he’d taken the role.
    • Was also Tarantino's first choice for the lead in Django Unchained, but Smith pulled out of that project after realizing how Out of Focus Django would be for the first half of the movie.


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Will Smith

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