Will Smith Calls Fame a ‘Unique Monster’

Will Smith is speaking candidly about fame.

The Academy Award winner, 55, spoke at the Red Sea International Film Festival in Saudi Arabia on Saturday, when he opened up about his relationship with being famous and his personal missions following “adversities of the last couple years.”

“Fame is a unique monster,” Smith said, per a clip shared online by Deadline. “I’ve had to be really careful.”

“You can’t get excited when everybody is saying good things about you, because the more you take when people are saying good things about you, the more hurt you’re gonna be when people are saying bad things about you,” he added.

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Will Smith attends the ‘Emancipation’ Los Angeles premiere.
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty

The Emancipation actor also said that he’s learned through previous “adversities” that he has to “be clear about who I am and what I am attempting to do in the world.”

“And I can’t need others to applaud for me to stay focused on my mission. I have always wanted to put good into the world,” Smith added. “I have always wanted to make people smile. I have always been devoted to the process of joy and inspiration.”

Still, Smith admitted during the discussion that he’s “deeply human” with a “virtue” that he’s “not yet perfected.”

“I am in the process of perfecting my virtue. I would say the greatest thing that has happened is I have been deeply humbled and deeply inspired to perfect my light,” he explained. “And that’s what this next phase of my life is going to be — perfecting and shining my light as brightly as I can, on as many people as I can.”

Will Smith.
Neilson Barnard/Getty

Elsewhere during the Q&A at the festival, Smith opened up about the in-the-works sequel for his 2007 blockbuster I Am Legend, which was previously teased earlier this year by screenwriter Akiva Goldsman as a film where “the possibilities are endless.”

Smith gave a little more insight into the project, which features Michael B. Jordan, revealing that he had a “call” with the fellow actor after the sequel was first announced in March 2022. (The duo is reportedly set to co-produce the film.)

“The script just came in,” Smith said, adding that he could be revealing “too much information.”

“In the first one, in the theatrical version, my character died,” Smith said. “And everybody’s like, ‘Wait a minute, how he gonna make a part two when his character…’ But on the DVD, there was an alternate version of the ending of the movie where my character lived.”

Smith ultimately shared that the team behind the next project is “going with the mythology of the DVD version.”

“I can’t tell you anymore,” Smith said. “But Michael B. Jordan is in, and we’re doing it.”

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