Before making headlines for his 2022 Oscars controversy, Hollywood star Will Smith hauled most of the spotlight for his impeccable acting. While the latter still remains, his career seemed to have witnessed a blot after he slapped Chris Rock on a world stage. Even though the Academy Award-winning star might have developed a negative connotation to his name, fans still revere him for his passion.
Smith once opened up about a scene with the late James Avery in the 1990s sitcom, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air that got him all riled up. Mostly trying to impress his senior and experienced co-star, Smith was baffled after he messed up a dramatic scene, while Avery snapped him back to character.
Will Smith looked up to James Avery
Will Smith started his career with NBC’s The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air where he played his own name, but the son of Carlton Banks, played by Alfonso Ribeiro. He was also accompanied by James Avery as his uncle Philip Banks. Only 22 then, Smith always looked to impress Avery. Most actors in the show were trained stage actors, and Avery was a Shakespearean-trained actor. Therefore, getting validation from him was no less than a prize.
In Episode 24 of Season 4, Will enacts a scene with Avery, pouring out his heartfelt emotions to Uncle Phil, for his father who abandoned him as a child. Achieving the intense emotions, and drama involved was a tall order. Therefore, after Smith messed it up, he screamed in frustration. But Avery snapped and gave him a pro tip.
Talking to Breakfast Club Power 105.1 FM on YouTube, the 55-year-old star recollected,
“James Avery, man…When I came on to the show, James Avery was one of the first people that pulled me up. And he was like ‘hey, you have real talent, don’t squander it. And so he never like nothing, he didn’t like nothing I did. And I was always trying to get his approval.”
The MIB actor candidly shared how badly he wanted to seize the opportunity to impress Avery during that scene. Yet, when he almost gave up trying, his co-star helped him out.
James Avery imparted his wisdom to Will Smith
The late Emmy-winning actor stood as a bearing Uncle Phil when the dramatic scene unraveled. The mounting pressure got to Smith, as he failed to deliver with utmost accuracy. However, Avery urged him to utilize every bit of the stage, offering a glimpse into his wisdom. Smith shared,
“And the first time in front of audience, I missed it and I messed the scene up. And I’m losing it infront of the audience. And he looks, ‘Hey!’ I snapped in, and he’s like use me, use me in this scene. And we went and he said, ‘Get it together.’ And I settle down and he said, ‘Action!’.”
However, that was not it. Around the end of the scene, the two actors hugged and that is when Avery acknowledged Smith’s flair. He commended Smith’s acting in that scene and for his precise efforts. Undoubtedly, Will Smith went home a happy man.