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Watch Robert Downey Jr. Audition The Animal Cast Of Dolittle

After Robert Downey Jr. gave over a decade to the role of Iron Man, audiences had to say their goodbyes to the MCU character this past summer in Avengers: Endgame. But thankfully, the actor’s career is alive and well, and he’s ready to take on another well-known character at the start of 2020. Downey is the star of Dolittle, alongside an impressive voice cast tackling the exotic animals he can talk to.

In anticipation for the release of Dolittle, Robert Downey Jr. is warming up his animal co-stars with some fun auditions featuring lines from famous movies, ranging from Despicable Me to Scarface. Check it out:

Well, this is adorable! Robert Downey Jr. brought his signature charm to this clip from Universal Pictures to introduce audiences to the creatures joining Dr. John Dolittle as he takes a voyage on a ship to find the cure to an illness the Queen of England has been afflicted with. But for these “auditions,” Downey is being 100% Downey and allowing these CGI animals to shine in their own right.

The auditions begin with Octavia Spencer’s duck character, Dab-Dab. She just can’t get the Jaws line right, hinting at Dab-Dab’s enthusiastic, but kooky personality. The majestic parrot rehearsing Fast & Furious lines is Emma Thompson playing Polynesia, who will be Dr. Dolittle’s most trusted advisor and confidant in the film. Hilariously enough, it’s this year’s Best Actor winner, Rami Malek, behind a gorilla named Che-Che delivering a famous line from Despicable Me!

But the highlight of the clip comes in the form of Craig Robinson’s squirrel named Kevin and his adorable little mouse buddy. He’s given Al Pacino’s iconic Scarface line, but Robert Downey Jr. gives him some notes: he’s not threatening enough. So Kevin grabs the mouse as his gun as he says “Say hello to my little friend!”

But Craig Robinson’s Kevin goes a little too into character, throwing in bleeped out f-bombs before Robert Downey Jr. has to cut him off and remind him Dolittle is a family movie! All and all, the clip is a smart marketing move for the upcoming release that previously dealt with reshoots and some bad buzz.

We have Robert Downey Jr with cute animals, so what’s not to love? If only Tom Holland’s glasses-wearing dog character of Jip had made an appearance to auditions. Maybe give him a Marvel line? That would have been perfect! Dolittle also stars John Cena as Yoshi the polar bear, Kumail Nanjiani as Plimpton the ostrich, Selena Gomez as Betsy the giraffe and Marion Cotillard as Tutu the fox.

Juice WRLD Showed Fans ‘What Passion And Pain Really Looked Like’

Juice WRLD figured out how to make the studio his personal smash room. His music often spoke directly to current or old flames while exploring his own heartbreak, employing easy-to-recite melodies that won over a generation. On “Lucid Dreams,” his biggest song, he immediately voiced how haunted by love he was: “I still see your shadows in my room / Can’t take back the love that I gave you.” He opened the most accessible door yet to emotional rap, showing people that not only is it OK to be heartbroken, but it’s also OK to stay heartbroken as well. The 21-year-old rapper died on December 8, leaving a brief but legendary legacy of a kid on the verge of an industry takeover built upon passionate, human storytelling that came from the heart.

Born Jarad Anthony Higgins, Juice WRLD first piqued ears in 2016, and two years later, he signed a reported $3 million deal with Interscope Records. That’s a lot of money to give to a relatively unknown lyricist. But Juice WRLD quickly proved to be worth much more than that, as evident in the Sting-sampling “Lucid Dreams,” which began as a sleeper hit and eventually hit No. 2 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and went platinum six times over.

Two albums — Goodbye & Good Riddance (which went platinum) and Death Race for Love (which has gone gold) — and one mixtape — Wrld On Drugs (with Future) — followed, and, Juice WRLD’s became one of hip-hop’s most exciting rising voices who understood how to excavate his feelings truthfully. He’s set to live on through the hearts of fans that have found themselves in the emotional safe space he created. That’s what his positive message of 999, which featured on merch as well as in his music, sought to capture. “999 represents taking whatever ill, whatever bad situation, whatever struggle you’re going through and turning it into something positive and using it to push yourself forward,” Juice told MTV in 2018.

His honesty unlocked the door for fans, friends, and peers around him to heal from their wounds and become better versions of themselves. MTV News talked to 10 of Juice WRLD’s fans about how important that legacy is.

  • Alani Richardson, 24

    Favorite song: “Armed and Dangerous”

    Discovered Juice WRLD’s music: “In 2017 while teaching at a law program for high schoolers.”

    What does his music do for you? “It speaks to a part of me that I don’t always give a voice. Most of us are dealing with feelings that are deeper than what we’re able to express to our friends and family. His music was able to tap into those heavier emotions that I hadn’t been able to express without being judged.”

    How do you hope he’s remembered? “By the huge impact that he had on the younger generation. He showed us what passion and pain really looked like.”

  • Kemet High, 23

    Favorite song: “Astronauts”

    Discovered Juice WRLD’s music: “In 2016, and I distinctly remember him not fitting into either of Chicago’s drill or SAVEMONEY movements. He provided my ears with sounds I had honestly never heard.”

    What does his music do for you?  “His music had a Band-Aid effect on me and I think a lot of people. He prevailed when it came to being honest and laying out his pain on a microphone. His music was easy for anyone to receive, not only because it had influences from many different genres, but also because he talked about his own life in a way that millions could relate to theirs.”

    How do you hope he’s remembered? “As someone who was free. He proved that it’s possible to acknowledge the abyss of problems in your life and still be happy.”

  • Keyera Williams, 25

    Favorite song: “Rich and Blind”

    Discovered Juice WRLD’s music: “In 2018 through a song called ‘Scared of Love.’ I came across it randomly on a Spotify playlist and immediately connected to the lyrics and the pain that you could hear in his voice.”

    What does his music do for you? “I have a long history of depression and I also use my art to talk about it so I felt like I related to Juice in that way. When I discovered him, I felt like I’d found an artist that gave a voice to what I was thinking through music that I vibe with. There have been so many days where I’ve felt isolated and alone and come home to turn on Goodbye & Good Riddance.”

    How do you hope he’s remembered? “As a young, talented king that unfortunately was taken too soon. I hope his death inspires fans and even casual listeners that dealt with similar issues as him to get the help that they need to heal.”

  • Armon Sadler, 24

    Favorite song: “Feeling”

    Discovered Juice WRLD’s music: “In 2018 when I heard ‘Lucid Dreams’ and liked it immediately. I saw some freestyle videos he did too and appreciated that he had that range.”

    What does his music do for you? “Like Future, Young Thug, and many rappers I enjoy, he used his voice as an instrument to convey his emotions. He fit very well in this era where artists are much more forthcoming with their trauma and vulnerability is seen as a superpower.”

    How do you hope he’s remembered? “For the impact that he had.”

  • Eboni Taylor, 22

    Favorite song: “‘Astronauts.’ I giggle when he says the girl has cooties.”

    Discovered Juice WRLD’s music: In 2018 when I was on tour as a host speaker for the Google Pixel Sights of Sound launch in Atlanta. There was a room dedicated to him and Future playing ‘Astronauts.'”

    What does his music do for you? “His music is something that I play to calm me down or when I’m working at my studio.”

    How do you hope he’s remembered? “As a super young and bright soul that had everything he wanted and so much potential.”

  • Ashton Howard, 24

    Favorite song: “Make It Black”

    Discovered Juice WRLD’s music: “Two years ago when one of my best friend’s little brothers kept telling us that he was his favorite artist.”

    What does his music do for you? “It provided context and perspective. Whether it was a party song while I was out on the town, or the random bedroom banger that would come on when my Apple Music was on shuffle.”

    How do you hope he’s remembered? “For his music and impact on the world.”

  • Lee McIntosh, 27

    Favorite song: “Before his passing, I would have to say ‘Empty.’ It was the perfect introduction to his album and set the tone for what was yet to come. Now I would have to say my favorite is ‘Legends.'”

    Discovered Juice WRLD’s music: “Back in 2017 when my friend sent me a link to ‘Let Me Know (I Wonder Why Freestyle).'”

    What does his music do for you? “His music makes me feel like I’m inside of his mind. Listening to it made me understand his pain and get deeper into his struggles.”

    How do you hope he’s remembered? “As a human being no different from the rest of us. I hope people can use his passing as a wake-up call to just enjoy our time while we have it on Earth because it’s so limited. If you’re feeling down, reach out and get help.”

  • Carrie Scharloo, 28

    Favorite song: “Lucid Dreams”

    Discovered Juice WRLD’s music: “About a year ago. I was watching a video online and heard ‘Lucid Dreams’ in the background. After that, he became 90 percent of what I listen to every day.”

    What does his music do for you? “He makes me feel like I’m not alone. That’s probably my favorite song as well, his pain in so vivid in his lyrics.”

    How do you hope he’s remembered? “He makes me feel like I’m not alone and that’s how I want him to be remembered for being honest and true to self.”

  • Scott Stowe, 23

    Favorite song: “‘Desire.’ But ‘Candles’ is a close second.”

    Discovered Juice WRLD’s music: “Around the time that he put out ‘Lucid Dreams’ on Apple Music. He was working with Cole Bennett on the release of the music video.”

    What does his music do for you? “When I listen to his music, I hear something that I can relate to. The way that he’s able to word things about heartbreak, love, pain, and being alone, it makes me feel like I’m not alone in the emotions that I’ve experienced.”

    How do you hope he’s remembered? “He was so young – two years younger than me. One of my favorite videos on the internet is Juice WRLD in the studio freestyling and his manager bringing different items for him to see and freestyle about. Someone who was amazingly talented and able to express himself through music, that was taken too soon.”

  • Isaiah Rookwood, 25

    Favorite song: “‘Hear Me Calling.’ It’s on the soundtrack to NBA 2K20 and I listen to it all the time.”

    Discovered Juice WRLD’s music: “I found some of his early stuff on SoundCloud in 2016 and was taken aback. He was amazing.”

    What does his music do for you? “It puts words to the emotions that I’m sometimes too scared to vocalize.”

    How do you hope he’s remembered? “As someone who wasn’t afraid to be real about how he was feeling at all times. It’s rare to find people like that nowadays.”

How Corey Hawkins Prepared To Be A Sniper In 6 Underground

In the final trailer for Michael Bay’s Netflix film 6 Underground, Ryan Reynolds’ character tells Corey Hawkins that the group has been looking for a special operator like him for a while. Clearly Corey Hawkins’ character is bringing a particular set of skills to the group, so how did the actor himself bring those skills to life? Speaking at Netflix Panel CCXP in Brazil, attended by CinemaBlend’s own Cody Beck, Corey Hawkins talked about how he prepared to be a sniper in 6 Underground, saying:

I suppose killing a lot of people would be one way to prepare to be a lethal sniper in 6 Underground, but going method in this instance presents a lot of legal and moral complications. So Corey Hawkins didn’t kill a lot of people as he jokes, but he did do a ton of training to acquire that very particular set of skills in order to play a convincing sniper onscreen.

The production of 6 Underground actually brought in men and women of the armed forces to help Corey Hawkins, and presumably some other members of the cast, get prepared to play a group of six globetrotting secret agents righting the wrongs in the world. That makes total sense, if you were playing a boxer, it would be good to learn how to throw a punch like one and if you’re playing a soldier, best to learn from the people who have actually done the job.

I assume that for Corey Hawkins, some of that training was specific to his role as 6 Underground’s sniper, like how to hold the rifle properly and whatnot, but it also involved simply being in shape for the role. As Corey Hawkins recalled at CCXP, he showed up one day and there were a bunch of cones lined up, only to find out that he and his cast mates were doing laps.

That must have come as quite the surprise; hopefully he had on proper shoes. The result of this was that the actor apparently got into the best shape of his life for Michael Bay’s Netflix actioner. So in addition to going through all the training with the servicemen and women to play a sniper, he made sure that he was physically in shape and looked the part of a capable soldier.

Of course, 6 Underground isn’t the first time that Corey Hawkins has had to play a badass onscreen. While he is perhaps now best known from playing Dr. Dre in Straight Outta Compton, he also starred in the 24 revival 24: Legacy where he played an ex-Army Ranger and war hero.

So 6 Underground wasn’t Corey Hawkins’ first rodeo in the action realm and I imagine he was able to take that experience and build upon it with his training for the new film. He’ll need it too, for a film that is poised to be peak Michael Bay lunacy.

You probably won’t get to see him put that training on display on the big screen though. 6 Underground is a Netflix film and like The Irishman or Roma before it, it’s theatrical release is very limited.

Clint Eastwood’s Richard Jewell Is Feuding With Atlanta Newspaper Over Controversial Scene

While Clint Eastwood’s latest movie, Richard Jewell, has received a lot of positive reception among critics, with just days to go until its release, it’s now found itself in controversial waters due to a dispute with a newspaper based in Atlanta, Georgia. The Atlanta-Journal Constitution is taking issue with how one of the movie’s characters, a journalist who worked at that paper, is depicted.

In case you’re unfamiliar with Richard Jewell, it’s a biographical drama chronicling the Centennial Olympic Park bombing during the 1996 Summer Olympics, and how the eponymous security guard, played by Paul Walter Hauser, found the bomb and altered the authorities so that the area could be evacuated, but was later suspected of having planted the bomb himself. In Richard Jewell, Olivia Wilde plays Atlanta-Journal Constitution reporter Kathy Scruggs, who is shown in one scene to be offering sex to a federal officer in exchange for information.

Dissatisfied with this portrayal of Kathy Scruggs, who co-wrote the article that revealed Richard Jewell was a suspect in the Centennial Olympic Park bombing and passed away in 2001, The Atlanta-Journal Constitution and its parent corporation, Cox Enterprises, have sent a letter to Warner Bros, Clint Eastwood, screenwriter Billy Ray and others through the Los Angeles-based law firm Lavely & Singer.

The organizations demand that the studio publicly acknowledge that some of the events shown in Richard Jewell were “imagined for dramatic purposes and artistic license and dramatization were used in the film’s portrayal of events and characters,” as well as requested that a prominent disclaimer be added “to that effect.” The letter also stated:

Warner Bros has since put out its own statement on the Richard Jewell matter (via Variety), saying that the movie is “based on a wide range of highly credible source material.” However, the statement didn’t directly address Richard Jewell’s portrayal of the late Kathy Scruggs, instead calling out how the Atlanta-Journal Constitution played a role in Jewell being falsely accused. (Jewell, who passed away in 2007, was cleared after around three months of investigation, and terrorist Eric Robert Rudolph was later convicted and is now serving multiple life sentences.) In the studio’s words:

Warner Bros also noted how there’s already a disclaimer attached to the end of Richard Jewell that notes that the movie is based on actual historical events and that “dialogue and certain events and characters contained in the film were created for the purposes of dramatization.”

It’s unclear what the next step forward is in this feud, although according to the Variety report, it’s possible legal action will be taken. Atlanta-Journal Constitution editor Kevin Riley told the outlet that the paper’s staff was “concerned about how the film portrays Kathy at time when journalism itself is under attack,” and said that Richard Jewell feels “irresponsible.” The AJC’s letter also objected to how the movie presented the paper’s reporting practices, saying that it “acted responsibly and in accordance with appropriate journalistic standards.”

Richard Jewell opens in theaters this Friday, December 13. Be sure to look through our 2019 release schedule to learn when this year’s final movies are coming out, or get a head start on next year with the 2020 release schedule.

Sarah Pitlyk Confirmation: Using A Surrogate Doesn’t ‘Diminish Respect For Motherhood’

The doctors told us IVF was the next step. And it was our saving grace. We put the truck up for collateral and took out a loan at the bank to pay for our dreams. It worked on the first try. I can’t even describe what it was like when we saw that heartbeat on the ultrasound at six weeks. It was miraculous.

Danger to the mother never crossed my mind. Because, hell, pregnancy can be risky. I wanted a child, and I would survive whatever test came my way to protect that baby—just as all mothers have done throughout the millennia. I did have a relative question our decision due to religious beliefs. All this did was make me dig in my heels: ‘Ok, then join me in praying to God that this works.’ Because this will be a wanted child, a cherished child, a prized child. A child of God.”

— Ginny Bowen Olson lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with her husband and their two sons. She runs a blog for moms called Mothersrest.

“The motivation to become a surrogate is deeply rooted in a desire to help other people create a family.”

Bjarke Damm, Lars Lundgaard Hansen, and their three daughtersCourtesy of Bjarke Damm 

“Our girls came into this world exactly two weeks apart in early 2018. The girls all have the same egg donor, and [my husband] Lars is the biological father to Anna, and I am to the twins. It was important for us that the donor wasn’t anonymous, because we want the girls to meet her, when they are old enough to understand how they came into this world.

Being a surrogate is not for everyone, and it is clearly wrong if it for some reason involves the lack of free will or is done out of financial need. But it is important to remember that for some women the motivation to become a surrogate is deeply rooted in a desire to help other people create a family. This changes the perspective from a surrogate being a victim to her being a strong woman who is bringing something into this world that is deeply beautiful and meaningful. Our three girls have enriched all of us with so much love.”

— Bjarke Damm lives in Denmark with his husband Lars Lundgaard Hansen and their triplets.

Jenny Singer is a staff writer for Glamour.

Joker Passed Aladdin At The Box Office, Now Has Another 2019 Disney Movie In Sight

During Joker’s remarkable and record-breaking run, it has passed many other films at the 2019 box office that on paper it should have never even come close to. One of those films is Disney’s Aladdin. Itself a bit of a box office surprise, the PG-rated, four-quadrant, live-action remake of Disney’s beloved animated classic made over $1 billion at the box office and the dark, R-rated Joker still passed it. Now Joker has another 2019 Disney movie in its sights.

Aladdin was bigger than anyone expected making $1.050 billion worldwide. Yet, as if Will Smith’s Genie granted an outlandish wish to rival studio Warner Bros., the hugely popular and controversial Joker made an even more ludicrous $1.055 billion according to Box Office Mojo. That puts it within striking distance of Pixar’s animated sequel Toy Story 4, which made $1.073 billion worldwide over the course of its run.

So that puts Joker roughly $18 million away from going to infinity and beyond Buzz Lightyear and Woody at the 2019 box office. It’s a truly remarkable feat considering the box office might of Disney and the track record and strength of Pixar’s crown jewel property. Especially when you factor in Joker’s hard-R rating and the fact that it did not open in the lucrative Chinese market, where Aladdin made $53.48 million and Toy Story 4 earned $29.10 million.

If the Joaquin Phoenix film does manage to leg it out to over $1.073 billion, toppling Toy Story 4, it will enter into the top five biggest films worldwide on the year, at least until Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits to knock everything sans Avengers: Endgame and maybe The Lion King down a peg. Plus Frozen II is still on the rise with $1 billion inevitable.

As of now, Joker sits at number six on the worldwide box office charts with $332.11 million domestic and $723.6 million internationally. Whether it can manage to pass Toy Story 4 we’ll have to wait and see. Part of Joker’s strength has been its modest week-to-week drops and continuing presence in the top 10 at the domestic box office. But all films run out of steam eventually and this past weekend Joker finally dropped out of the top 10 to number 11 with a little over $1 million.

There are a ton of new films on the way too, with Jumanji and Star Wars entering the fray, not to mention all of the buzzy awards contenders, so Joker will have its work cut out for it. Even if Joker passes Toy Story 4, it would have a long way to go to pass the next film on the worldwide charts. Captain Marvel sits in the number four spot worldwide with $1.12 billion. Therefore Joker would need another $73 million or so to match it.

Aquaman’s status as the most successful DC movie with $1.14 billion is probably safe for now, but Joker’s accomplishments continue to amaze. And while Joker is nearing the end of its box office run, it still has quite a few dollars in its future. That’s because Joker arrives on digital just in time for the holidays on December 17, followed by a proper physical release on Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD on January 7.

Check out all of the movies headed to theaters next year in our 2020 Release Schedule and for the latest movie news, stay tuned to CinemaBlend.

Ariana Grande Finally Sang ‘Moonlight’ Under Her Enormous Full Moon

If you’ve been following Ariana Grande‘s Sweetener Tour, you’ll know that her most prominent piece of set design is an enormous, twinkling moon, under which she serenades the crowd with ballads like “goodnight n go” and “get well soon.” But at her concert in Dallas on Monday night (December 9), Grande surprised the crowd with another setlist switch-up that was practically written in the stars. Yep, folks, she finally sang “Moonlight” under her giant moon.

Standing on a platform in the middle of the pit, Grande belted the opening track from 2016’s Dangerous Woman for the first time on her current trek. Naturally, the crowd was ecstatic, screaming along to the doe-eyed doo-wop ballad and holding up their cell phones lights to provide exactly the right ambience.

The long-awaited performance came exactly a week after Ari responded to a tweet from a fan who joked, “remember when u sang moonlight under the moon? yeah me neither.” Grande replied, “i promise it’ll happen.” And though it took 93 shows, she indeed kept her word. Before the final verse, she even quipped to the crowd, “Y’all happy now?!”

There are just seven stops remaining on the Sweetener Tour, which wraps up on December 22 in Inglewood, California. But don’t cry yet, Arianators — the pop star has been relentlessly teasing a live album that will hopefully arrive soon after the trek ends to cure all your post-tour blues.

Until then, check out clips from Grande’s “Moonlight” performance above, and see some of the best reactions from fans below.

The 15 Best Will Smith Movies, Ranked

Will Smith in the first Men In Black

You can’t stop Will Smith. Whether the praise they receive is genuine or ironic, Will Smith movies always manage to thrive as pop culture monuments and the man himself is still one of Hollywood’s most beloved stars.

Mr. Fourth of July may have seen weirder days lately, to say the least, leading the villainous ensemble cast of DC’s Suicide Squad, doing double duty as his present-day self and a younger clone in Gemini Man, and making a largely unexpected turn as the Genie in Disney’s live action Aladdin remake. However, there are still more than enough classic Will Smith movies that remain timeless upon rewatch.

With that in mind, how do the best movies on Will Smith’s resume rank among each other? Let’s see if we can narrow it down.

Will Smith as hungover superhero Hancock

15. Hancock (2008)

Before Will Smith filled the shoes of DC supervillain Deadshot in 2016’s Suicide Squad, in 2008, he took a different kind of “super” role. As the title role of Hancock, Smith plays a boozy, anti-social, homeless nobody who also happens to harness abilities such as lightning speed, incredible strength, indestructibility, and flight.

Superheroes are commonly perceived as having a squeaky-clean reputation and a flashy costume. Putting an actor like Will Smith, who seems tailor made to play a comic book hero, in a role that flips that persona on its head makes it all the more fun.

Will Smith as Aladdin's new, blue Genie

14. Aladdin (2019)

Disney’s live action remake of its 1992 animated classic about magic lamps and extravagant palaces is probably not the first thing you picture when you think of Will Smith, even if it is the highest grossing film of his career. However, imagine what the Guy Ritchie Aladdin could have been without the actor as the Genie.

Not only does he exhibit good chemistry with Mena Massoud in the title role, he redefines the role originated by Robin Williams to something all his own, complete with decent hip-hop renditions of Alan Menken’s classic songs. 2019’s Aladdin might not have been nearly as much fun as it turned out to be without Will Smith.

Will Smith and Margot Robbie in Focus

13. Focus (2015)

A year prior to their collaboration as criminals who flirt with each other in Suicide Squad, Will Smith and Margot Robbie first paired together in this dramedy as… two criminals who flirt with each other. Hmm, go figure.

From the writing and directing duo Gleen Ficarra and John Requa (Crazy Stupid Love), Focus is a funny, sexy thriller that sees Will Smith playing veteran con man who meets his match (professionally and romantically) with Margot Robbie. It’s appropriate for date night or even just to quench your thirst for a good crime flick.

Will Smith takes on the NFL in Concussion

12. Concussion (2015)

Will Smith is the kind of actor who can switch from leading blockbusters to portraying real people with no fault in his transition. Among the many examples is his Golden Globe-nominated performance in the 2015 biopic Concussion.

Will Smith plays Dr. Bennet Omalu, an accomplished pathologist who made the first discovery of a kind of football-related head trauma, which the NFL would rather keep under wraps. Concussion depicts Omalu’s dedication to the truth as a riveting David and Goliath story.

Will Smith helps Matt Damon in The Legend of Bagger Vance

11. The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000)

In 2016, Will Smith played a desperate, broken man visited by mysterious, spiritual guides in Collateral Beauty. Perhaps he chose that role because, after playing a mysterious, spiritual guide in The Legend of Bagger Vance, he wanted to see what it was like on the other side.

Will Smith stars as the title role of this Robert Redford-directed fantasy about a golfer desperate for a comeback (Matt Damon) who puts his game, and his life, back together with the help of a magic caddy. The Legend of Bagger Vance is an inspiring feel-good movie that sees Smith playing way out of type, for the time, that is.

Will Smith chomps down on cigars and aliens in Independence Day

10. Independence Day (1996)

In Roland Emmerich’s explosive sci-fi extravaganza, we saw both the destruction of the White House and the birth of a movie star. Many credit Will Smith’s unmistakable charisma as the secret to this film’s lasting appeal.

Will Smith skyrocketed to leading man status after playing a tough air force pilot tasked with defending the Earth from malevolent extraterrestrials piloting 15-mile wide battleships this blockbuster. It is fitting that this film is called Independence Day, since soon after its release, Smith would be crowned the King of the Fourth of July weekend.

Will Smith teams with Gene Hackman in Enemy of the State

9. Enemy of the State (1998)

Continuing his late ‘90s trend of teaming up with an older white man to dispel a desperate situation, in 1998, Will Smith starred alongside Gene Hackman in Enemy of the State. Smith plays an innocent lawyer and family man who accidentally intercepts evidence to a government conspiracy, thus becoming the target of a corrupt politician (Jon Voight).

Helmed by late Top Gun director Tony Scott, Enemy of the State is an intense “what would you do?” tale from the prime of producer Jerry Bruckheimer’s career that still doesn’t fail to entertain. Of course, much of that can be credited to Will Smith, bringing his signature wit to an otherwise dense thriller.

Martin Lawrence and Will Smith in Bad Boys

8. Bad Boys (1995)

We already knew he had versatility from the films he chose in the early ‘90s, but it was his role in director Michael Bay’s feature-length debut that convinced us he could do action. Miami detectives Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) and Mike Lowery (Will Smith) are forced to switch lives in order to get a witness’ (Tea Leoni) help in reclaiming a drug consignment stolen from their station.

Bad Boys, which spawned a 2003 sequel and a third film set for a January 2020 release, is a classic staple of the buddy cop genre. Seeing Martin Lawrence and Will Smith at a crucial turning point in their careers as lawmen with their own brand of justice makes for a joyful retrospective.

Will Smith and his sole canine companion, Sam, in I Am Legend

7. I Am Legend (2007)

At this point in his career, Will Smith had battled aliens (many times), robots, and even homelessness (more on that later). This loose adaptation of Richard Matheson’s novel, I Am Legend, saw him face a different kind of threat: nocturnal “zombies.”

Dr. Robert Neville (Will Smith) struggles to find a cure to the global virus responsible for mutating most of humanity into ravenous creatures, which is he is (supposedly) the sole survivor AND unintentional creator of. Despite the disappointing theatrical ending (why they replaced the far more interesting alternate ending, I will never understand), this intense one-man show proves that Smith is capable of carrying a film all on his own.

Younger Will Smith in Six Degrees of Separation

6. Six Degrees of Separation (1993)

In the early ‘90s, Will Smith was known as a hip hop artist with a sitcom deal. It was this adaptation of the stageplay by John Guare, Six Degrees of Separation, that earned him the respect of a serious actor.

After a New York couple (Stockard Channing and Donald Sutherland) are paid an unexpected visit by a young man (Will Smith) who claims to be actor Sidney Poitier’s son, they soon discover there is more to him than he will let on. Six Degrees of Separation is a satire of unique elegance and style with a performance from Smith unlike anything you have seen before.

Will Smith shows Kevin Smith the moves in Hitch

5. Hitch (2005)

Sure, Will Smith had done comedy before. Of course, with the exception of his years on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, they would usually involve killer cockroaches or giant mechanical spiders. Putting him in a comedy with real situations, real people, and where the biggest explosion is his hilarious allergic reaction during a cooking class just feels weird.

Nonetheless, Hitch, in which Will Smith plays a matchmaker struggling to maintain balance of his own romance with Eva Mendes, works as a fun, clever rom-com. Not to mention, Kevin James has never been better as Hitch’s down-on-his-luck, yet charming, client Albert Brennaman.

Will Smith threatens a mechanical murder suspect in I, Robot

4. I, Robot (2004)

Someone whom we can expect not to fall victim to a Black Mirror episode is Detective Del Spooner. The 2035 cop is so defiant of technological progress that he is the only one who sees the third-act robotic revolt coming from the beginning.

After a revolutionary tech wizard is found dead of supposed suicide, Spooner (Will Smith) suspects foul play, specifically at the hands of his prime suspect: a robot named Sonny (voiced by Alan Tudyk). I, Robot is a rare example of a summer popcorn movie serving justice to the thought-provoking short story (by Issac Asimov) it is based on with knockout performances, sharp dialogue, and some of the best action of Smith’s career.

Will Smith as Muhammad Ali

3. Ali (2001)

Never threatened by a challenge, Will Smith accepted the task of filling the shoes of one of the most prolific legends in sports history. Ali tells the story of outspoken boxing champion Muhammad Ali at a time when his personal and professional life fall into controversy following he protests his own drafting into the Vietnam war.

Director Michael Mann crafts the story of the legendary Ali (born Cassius Clay) into a powerful tale of hubris and perseverance brought to beautiful completion by Will Smith’s passionate performance. His portrayal paid off, earning him his first Academy Award nomination.

Will Smith gives fatherly advice to his son in The Pursuit of Happyness

2. The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

The toughest, most heartbreaking threat a Will Smith character has ever faced is not an alien or an army of robots, but poverty. For one of the actor’s most challenging roles, he assumed the identity of struggling salesman-turned-millionaire Chris Gardner in The Pursuit of Happyness.

With very little money to his name and his wife (Thandie Newton) gone, homeless Chris Gardner tries to do right by his son (Will Smith’s real son Jaden, at age 6) while hoping to turn his unpaid corporate internship into a career. Elevated by Smith’s Oscar-nominated performance, The Pursuit of Happyness is an inspiring true story about family sticking together against all odds.

Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith are the Men In Black

1. Men In Black (1997)

In trying to think of a film that wholly encapsulates the best of Will Smith’s most definitive characteristics, it is hard to picture anything more fitting than Men In Black. Not to mention, Barry Sonnenfeld’s 1997 hit is one of the most flawlessly executed films of its kind: the sci-fi action comedy.

Men In Black is often referred to as a science fiction reimagining of 1982’s 48 Hours, given how it revolves around an uptight veteran agent (Tommy Lee Jones) and a rebellious motormouth (Will Smith) in a race against time to find one bad “bug.” Buddy cop movie tropes aside, its clever storyline and timeless special effects put MIB in a well-deserved league of its own.

How do you feel about our ranking of Will Smith movies? Are you a bigger fan of Bad Boys than Men In Black? Do you feel Wild Wild West deserved a spot? Let us know in the comments below!

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Dave Bautista’s Latest Tweet Has Fans Freaking Out About Bane And The Batman

The superhero genre has been dominating the film industry for about a decade, and is showing no signs of slowing down. As such, plenty of studios have gotten in on the action with their own cinematic universe. And some actors have even appeared in multiple, like Josh Brolin and Peter Dinklage. Guardians of the Galaxy actor Dave Bautista has been playing Drax for years, but his latest tweet has fans freaking out about the possibility of pivoting to DC for Bane.

Dave Bautista seems like a killer choice to play Bane, as he’s got a hulking physique and history in wrestling. While fans have long theorized that he would be a great Bane, Bautista recently added fuel to the fire of those rumors. Namely, but posting a photo outside of Warner Bros. with a particularly cryptic caption.

I mean, come on. How are we NOT supposed to freak out about Dave Bautista possibly joining the DC universe? Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 isn’t happening for a few years, so it would make sense of the actor went into negotiations for another comic book role.

Dave Bautista’s recent post comes from his personal Twitter page. The Guardians of the Galaxy actor regularly uses social media to directly communicate with the fandom. Most notably, he was active on Twitter when James Gunn was briefly fired from the Guardians franchise by the studio. Now he’ll once again inspire a big fan reaction, as moviegoers wonder about what he might be doing at Warner Bros.

As the DC Extended Universe found its stride recently, there’s been a new focus on Gotham City and its denizens. Joker, Birds of Prey, and The Suicide Squad will all feature Batman rogues. And fans have theorized about who could play each iconic villain. Dave Bautista is at the top of the list for the DCEU’s Bane, and has even responded to the fan campaign, saying “I accept.

Of course, Bane isn’t the only DC villain that Dave Bautista has expressed interest in playing. He also spoke about being interested in playing DC’s first live-action Clayface. It’s another iconic rogue from the comics, and one that could be an especially visual experience in theaters.

The rumors about Dave Baustista playing a Batman villain are given some weight given that Matt Reeves has been assembling his cast for The Batman. The upcoming blockbuster will feature a few villains, including Zoe Kravitz’s Catwoman, Paul Dano’s Riddler, and Colin Farrell. Could Bautista also join the movie, or perhaps appear in another project altogether? Only time will tell.

Fans no doubt would have loved to see Dave Bautista pop up in James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad as well. Gunn took that project during the interim before his rehiring, and will feature some of his frequent collaborators like Michael Rooker. But it doesn’t look like we should expect to see him in that highly anticipated villain-centric movie.

DC’s next movie is Birds of Prey on February 7th, 2020, and Black Widow will kick off Marvel’s Phase Four on May 1st. In the meantime, check out our 2020 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.