Will Smith Says the ‘Best Movie’ He’s Ever Been in Is Obviously ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’

Almost 20 years later, and Will Smith is still happiest with his performance in “The Pursuit of Happyness.”

The critically acclaimed 2006 film is based on the true story of an unhoused San Francisco-based single father who rises up in the ranks of a tech company, beginning with door-to-door sales. Smith recently said during an episode of First We Feast’s “Hot Ones” series that “The Pursuit of Happyness” is the “best movie” of his career.

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“I think the individual best movie, all around, that I’ve ever made is ‘The Pursuit of Happyness,'” Smith said. “Right behind that is the first ‘Men In Black.’ The direction, cinematography, and music…”

Smith later reunited with “The Pursuit of Happyness” director Gabriele Muccino for drama “Seven Pounds.”

The actor, who won the Oscar for “King Richard,” added to “Hot Ones” that he also has some beloved franchise installments.

“I think among the most fun I’ve ever had making a movie is like ‘Bad Boys’ and ‘Aladdin’ like just the most fun,” Smith said. “If I had to put four of them in a time capsule it would be ‘The Pursuit of Happyness,’ the first ‘Men In Black,’ ‘I Am Legend,’ and probably ‘King Richard.'”

Smith recently returned for the fourth installment of the “Bad Boys” films with “Bad Boys: Ride or Die.” He is also set to return for an “I Am Legend” sequel with Michael B. Jordan, even though Smith had shrugged off past “I Am Legend 2” story ideas.

“It was one of those ones I was going to leave alone, and then I heard the idea,” Smith told Entertainment Tonight about Jordan’s follow-up. “’That might work. I think we can do that.’” Akiva Goldsman, who co-wrote the original film, penned the sequel.

And “I Am Legend 2” isn’t the only film Smith needed some convincing to star in: Smith shared during Kevin Hart’s “Heart to Hart” Peacock talk show in 2023 that Steven Spielberg actually had to personally convince him to star in 1997’s “Men in Black.”

“I kind of understood ‘Men in Black’ a little bit but I didn’t want to make ‘Men in Black,’” Smith said. “That was the next year after ‘Independence Day.’ So I didn’t want to make two alien movies back to back.”

Smith continued of Spielberg, “He said the coldest shit. He said, ‘Tell me why you don’t want to make my movie…’ And he was the producer [for ‘Men in Black’]. 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.””

Smith additionally credited former manager and longtime business partner James Lassiter for being “the arbiter of taste” during that point in his career.

“In the heyday, the 10 movies I made at the top of my career, JL was choosing the films. He just had an eye,” the “Emancipation” actor said. “I didn’t want to make ‘Pursuit of Happyness.’ I didn’t want to make ‘Ali.’ And JL picked ‘Men in Black.'”

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