Friends Star Regretted Rejecting $1.9 Billion Franchise That Launched Will Smith: “It wasn’t even like a choice”

Friends Star Regretted Rejecting $1.9 Billion Franchise That Launched Will Smith
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Will Smith has portrayed several iconic characters on the screen over the past three decades in Hollywood. However, the role and the franchise that brought him worldwide recognition is considered to be the sci-fi action comedy Men in Black. The film series is based in a world where a secret organization polices aliens on Earth, as they secretively live among humans. It continued with two more sequels and a reboot with a new star cast.

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Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones in Men in Black
Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones in Men in Black

However, fans of the franchise noted the absence of its star in the reboot, and it was unable to receive the same reception at the box office as well as from critics. The reboot indicates that audiences may have difficulty seeing a new face leading the franchise. However, before Smith landed one of the iconic roles of his career, it almost went to FRIENDS star David Schwimmer.

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David Schwimmer Almost Replaced Will Smith in Men In Black

Starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones in the lead roles, Men In Black has become one of the most popular and successful franchises in Hollywood. While fans loved the chemistry between the lead stars, many consider the 54-year-old actor behind the success and popularity of the film series.

Will Smith as Agent J
Will Smith as Agent J

And the 2019 reboot, starring Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson, can be taken as an example that it would be hard for fans to see other actors in the franchise. However, the makers of the 1997 movie did not consider the Bad Boys star for the role of Agent J.

FRIENDS star David Schwimmer shared during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that he was initially offered the role in the sci-fi movie. He shared, “It wasn’t even like a choice.” However, he had to turn down the offer, reportedly due to scheduling conflicts. Surprisingly, not only the filmmakers didn’t consider Smith for one of the lead roles, but he also turned down the offer initially.

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David Schwimmer
David Schwimmer

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Will Smith Initially Rejected the Offer For Men In Black

The sci-fi action comedy made Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones popular as Agent J and Agent K, respectively. While they ended up being the face of the franchise, neither of the actors was the initial choice of the studio. The studio reportedly wanted Clint Eastwood as Agent K and preferred Chris O’Donnell for the role of Agent J.

Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith in Men in Black
Men in Black

While David Schwimmer was also offered the role, he also turned down the offer. Smith who was then approached to star in the movie also turned down the offer as he did not want to be the alien guy. A year before Men in Black, he features in the sci-fi action Independence Day, which was also based on the concept of extraterritorial.

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However, he eventually accepted the offer after the Oscar-winning director Steven Spielberg called him and told him “Don’t use your brain on this one, use mine.” Not only Smith, but Spielberg convinced Lee Jones to accept the offer for the film as well.

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Source: The Hollywood Reporter

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Written by Laxmi Rajput

Articles Published: 2082

Laxmi Rajput is a writer at Fandomwire. She finished her Post Graduation in Broadcast Journalism and worked as a Business News writer for a year. But her interest in entertainment and pop culture compelled her to find a way towards Entertainment Journalism. She has worked across various fields and has 2 years of experience in content writing. She likes reading, music, movies, and traveling. She aspires to become a fiction writer in the future.