This could've been very interesting. Will Smith was approached to play Neo in The Matrix before Keanu Reeves. Smith turned down the role to make Wild Wild West - hindsight is marvelous, is it not!
Just before Smith was first pursued for The Matrix he was attached to star with Nicolas Cage in Snake Eyes. Seems he asked for too much money and so they went for Gary Sinise instead.
By 2001 Will Smith was a very busy man, so much so that he had to withdraw from the starring role of Osmosis Jones, well the starring voice that is. Chris Rock took his place.
Smith was attached to star in the 2002 movie, but delays in production meant he was busy at work with Ali and so had to leave the project, making way for Colin Farrell to hang out in the phone booth.
The Truth About Charlie
Smith was in talks to play Lewis Bartholamew in this 2002 movie, but between finishing up Ali and his commitment to a Men In Black sequel he just couldn't fit the film into his schedule.
Don Cheadle ended up with an Oscar nomination for his part as Paul Rusesabagina, but the producers wanted Will smith for that role. Smith apparently asked for too much cash, a figure that the $17million budget wouldn't stretch too, and so negotiations faltered.
Man On Fire
Before Denzel Washington landed the role of Joyhn W. Creasy, several other Hollywood A-listers were approached, including Robert De Niro, Tom Cruise, Bruce Willis and Will Smith.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
I mentioned this one before in the 10 Movies that nearly starred Michael Keaton article. It seems that although Tim Burton had always envisioned making Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with Johnny Depp in the role of Willy Wonka, Warner Brothers attempted to get the director to use a different actor. So they suggested to Burton that he should cast either Michael Keaton, Jim Carrey, Nicolas Cage or Will Smith.
Mr. & Mrs. Smith
Director Doug Liman had always planned to make this movie with Brad Pitt, and he was the first name attached to the project shortly followed by Nicole Kidman (who had beaten Catherine Zeta-Jones to the part). But after Kidman dropped out Gwynenth Paltrow entered negotiations to play Jane Smith, and Brad decided he wasn't so keen to star with her. Liman looked for a new leading man and approached both Johnny Depp and Will Smith. Smith was already committed to I Am Legend. So Paltrow was dropped, Angelina Jolie was hired and Bard Pitt came running back in a heartbeat.
Smith had been offered the starring role of Django by Quentin Tarrantino but allegedly turned it down as he felt it wasn't big enough. He said:
"Django wasn't the lead, so it was like, I need to be the lead"Fortunately Jamie Foxx didn't feel the same way.
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