‘Thorn In My Side’: Will Smith Says This Film Is Still the One He Is Least Proud Of

From a successful television show to box office hits and top-charting records, Will Smith has crafted a near-perfect career.

But, even the Fresh Prince says not every project of his has aged well.

LOS ANGELES, CA – MARCH 23: Will Smith attends Nickelodeon’s 2019 Kids’ Choice Awards at Galen Center on March 23, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)

“I don’t know, Wild Wild West is a thorn in my side,” wrote Smith while responding to a fan’s question about his best and worst films for GQ’s “Actually Me” web series. “To see myself in chaps… I don’t like it.”

The 1999 film saw Smith and co-star Kevin Kline act as secret service agents enlisted to protect President Ulysses S. Grant from a Confederate scientist in the “Wild Wild West.” The movie was made on a $107 million budget and grossed $113.8 million domestically. Critics considered the film a flop. 

Adding insult to his bruised ego, Smith watched Keanu Reeves catapult to new levels of stardom while starring as Neo in “The Matrix” — the very role Smith turned down to take on his role of James West in the Western comedy.

Smith, 53, previously has spoken about his decision to make the film, and even in 2016 he was not proud of it. Speaking with GQ, Smith said, “I had so much success that I started to taste global blood, and my focus shifted from my artistry to winning.

Will Smith in his “Wild Wild West’ video. (Photo: WillSmithVEVO/YouTube)

“I wanted to win and be the biggest movie star, and what happened was there was a lag—around Wild Wild West time. I found myself promoting something because I wanted to win, versus promoting something because I believed in it,” he added.

But not everything about the “Wild Wild West” was a complete flop. The film’s theme song of the same name was performed by Smith and featured Dru Hill and Kool Mo Dee. The record reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.

As for Smith’s best film, the Oscar hopeful says it is a toss-up between two of his box office hits. “For the best, I think it’s a tie between the first ‘Men in Black’ and ‘Pursuit of Happyness.’ For different reasons, those are the two almost-perfect movies.”

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