" Men in Black 3" star Will Smith checked international superstardom off his bucket list years ago. But he credits "The Terminator" himself ( Arnold Schwarzenegger) for teaching him a thing or two about being major.
"I was in Australia in 1990 with Sylvester Stallone, Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis; they were opening Planet Hollywood," Smith says. "It was just the first year of ' Fresh Prince,' so I'm like [looking around], 'Oh yeah, this is crazy. This is great!'"
Smith, busy promoting "MiB 3" at a press junket, continues. "I'm sitting there with those guys, and Arnold says, 'Young man, I want you to know, you cannot just be a movie star in the United States. You're only a movie star if they know you around the world.' Then Bruce talked about it for a little while. They put that into my mind very clearly, and from that point, [I] made it a point to open new markets. That's how you hold a movie star."
Fame first came Smith's way when he debuted as the hippest kid in Philly on hit sitcom, " The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" and his popularity hasn't waned since. Rapping, acting, media-moguling -- the energized comedian can handle a lot, and he does so with ceaseless enthusiasm. Even though, as he notes, the old days living with Uncle Phil are still his supreme distinction.
Remarks the actor, "What's crazy for me is that the ' Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' is the biggest thing I've ever done. It's just amazing how that television show was sort of a stroke of luck. Because of the amount of outlets for that show, a nine-year-old kid thinks it's brand new....Jaden [Smith] just can't figure out how people thought it was okay for me to wear the clothes I was wearing. He's like, 'Dude, that just shouldn't be on TV.' Willow gets it."
Now promoting his first film in three years, Smith discussed the return of Agent J in the blockbuster sci-fi series, out May 25, an action comedy based on Marvel's comic book where aliens collide with CIA-ish agents in an often sloppy battle to run free on Planet Earth. In the third edition, Smith's character goes back in time to meet Agent K ( Tommy Lee Jones) in his younger years (as played by Josh Brolin), and divert his partner's future assassination.
The actor is also currently in talks to star with Denzel Washington in a remake of " Uptown Saturday Night," though nothing has been confirmed.
"We're trying to get it together, me and Denzel. That would be a great thing. Again, the material has to be right to deserve all that man power," says the star. "When I first asked Denzel, he's like, 'I'm not funny, man.' I was like, 'That was funny, that you said that!' He was a little concerned about the comedy. We're working on it.'"
Photo/Video credit: Getty Images
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