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Will Smith is one of the most bankable stars in the world. But even with his influence, the actor has sometimes gotten caught up in the hectic way Hollywood works. Smith has headlined countless blockbuster movies over the years. However, one of his biggest hits went all the way into production without a finished script. Smith’s fans probably never even knew about it.

Will Smith poses and points his fingers
Will Smith | Anton Belitsky/Epsilon

Will Smith keeps a close eye on his image and career

Smith’s fans know him as the charismatic star of hits such as Independence Day and Men in Black. But within the industry, the actor is also known for closely protecting his image and career. Smith has openly discussed why he made certain famous career decisions, such as turning down The Matrix and Django Unchained. And he doesn’t shy away from calling out his goals long before he actually reaches them.

To the actor’s credit, he has mastered music, television, and movies. He’s become one of the most famous and profitable stars globally. And in 2022, Smith won his first Academy Award for King Richard. So his “Plan B [distracts] from Plan A” mentality has primarily worked out. But his desire to manage his career might have caused some delays and behind-the-scenes tension on one of his hit movies.

But 1 of his biggest hits started filming with no script

2012’s Men in Black 3 even started filming without a complete script. According to Newsweek, the movie’s difficulty was compounded by “Smith’s notoriously exacting method of working through a screenplay.” But it was already rushed into production by Sony, director Barry Sonnenfeld — who made all three movies — told Newsweek.

“Starting the movie without an absolutely finished script is not normally the right way to do movies. But I feel the decision Sony made was the right decision. On this one, we might still be waiting for the script. Sometimes, if you just dip your toe in, you’ll never dive in because it’s too stupidly cold.”

Ultimately, the gamble worked. Men in Black 3 earned $624 million worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo. And while it wasn’t as widely acclaimed as the first film, the threequel earned a far warmer reception than 2002’s Men in Black II. Even the 2019 “legacyquel” Men in Black: International couldn’t come anywhere close to that success.

What is Will Smith’s next movie after his Oscar win?

On the same night Smith won the Academy Award for Best Actor, the star became a controversial figure. Following his actions on Oscar night, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences banned Smith from attending any academy events — including the Oscars — for 10 years. But that reportedly won’t stop him from earning another nomination during that time.

And as it stands, Smith could very well land another Best Actor nod in 2023. His next film is Emancipation from director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day). Smith plays an escaped slave who joins the Union Army in this thriller based on a true story. Given the subject matter and Fuqua’s track record, it wouldn’t surprise anyone to see Smith back on the Oscar ballots again next year.


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