Will Smith Almost Turned Down ‘Men In Black’ Until Spielberg Sent A Helicopter

Men in Black
Columbia Pictures/Getty Images

Actor Will Smith said he almost turned down his iconic role in the sci-fi action comedy “Men in Black” until executive producer Steven Spielberg went to great lengths to convince him to take it.

The 54-year-old said he was initially ready to reject the role because he’d starred in “Independence Day” the year before and didn’t want to make two alien-focused movies in a row. But he quickly changed his mind due to Spielberg’s persistence.

“In the heyday, the ten movies I made at the top of my career, [former manager James Lassiter] was choosing the films,” Smith said during a recent appearance on Kevin Hart’s “Hart to Heart” talk show, per Insider

“He just had an eye. I didn’t want to make ‘Pursuit of Happyness.’ I didn’t want to make ‘Ali.’ And [Lassiter] picked ‘Men in Black.’ I kind of understood ‘Men in Black’ a little bit but I didn’t want to make ‘Men in Black.’ That was the next year after ‘Independence Day.’ So I didn’t want to make two alien movies back to back.”


“Steven Spielberg sent a helicopter for me to talk to me,” the actor continued. “I was in New York. It landed at his house. And, like, he had me at hello. And it was the first time I ever had lemonade with carbonated water. You can’t say no to that.”

“He said the coldest sh**,” Smith went on. “He said, ‘Tell me why you don’t want to make my movie…’ And he was the producer. And he put the ellipsis at the end, it was the dot, dot, dot. If he had continued, he would have said, ‘Joker, you know I made ‘Jaws,’ right? You know I made ‘E.T.’”

Ultimately, Smith starred in the movie as Agent J, opposite Tommy Lee Jones as Agent K. They portrayed members of a top-secret organization established to control alien activity on Earth. The two agents were tasked with undermining a plot by an intergalactic terrorist who arrives to destroy the planet.

“Men in Black” was a critical and commercial success, raking in $589 million worldwide following its July 1997 release. The popularity of the original film inspired the creation of three more movies. 

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Will Smith Almost Turned Down ‘Men In Black’ Until Spielberg Sent A Helicopter