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  • Writer's pictureCharles Arrowsmith

Review: Will by Will Smith (Washington Post)

In 1996, days after “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” ended and shortly before “Independence Day” almost destroyed the Earth, Will Smith went to the opening of Planet Hollywood in Sydney to seek the advice of Arnold Schwarzenegger. What was the key to his pharaonic success? “Think of yourself as a politician running for Biggest Movie Star in the World,” replied Arnie.

Smith was an excellent student. “I was never promoting a movie,” he writes in his new memoir, “Will.” “I was using their $150,000,000 to promote me.” The result: astronomical success. In a Hollywood — and a music industry — that was even Whiter than it is today, Smith’s bankability was without precedent or rival. “Men in Black” and “Enemy of the State”; Oscar nominations for “Ali” and “The Pursuit of Happyness”; an unequaled golden run, from “Men in Black II” through “Hancock,” of eight consecutive movies grossing more than $100 million. A quarter-century after Planet Hollywood, it’s hard to imagine a shrewder move than publishing a memoir the same month you release your biggest Oscar contender in years (the tennis drama “King Richard”).

For the review in full, visit The Washington Post.

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