Will Smith rises above the perception that black actors aren’t stars overseas


In Richard Matheson's novel "I Am Legend," the apparent last man on Earth is described as "born of English-German stock" with bright blue eyes. When the latest movie version of the 1954 sci-fi thriller opens Friday, Matheson's hero will be played by the notably not English-German Will Smith.

It wasn't always destined to be that way. Over the course of "I Am Legend's" 13 years of development, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Cruise and Michael Douglas were all at one point slated to star. But Smith may be the most bankable of the bunch.

"He's the youngest, biggest star in the world," says Todd Black, who produced Smith's "The Pursuit of Happyness." "Globally he's more popular than Leo or Brad Pitt."

At a time when the world is growing more multicultural by the minute, movie studios cling to the notion that black performers cannot sell as many overseas movie tickets as their white counterparts. But Smith is shattering that perception: He's become Hollywood's biggest post-racial movie star.

(Source: Los Angeles Times)

Actors, Film Business, Hollywood

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