Will Smith Talks The Impact Of “After Earth”

Humility is a lesson we all learn at different points. You can strive all you like, there will always be people smarter, better, richer, prettier, etc. than you and life often finds a way of blindsiding you and reminding you what’s truly important.

Even the most successful people on the planet aren’t immune to it. In an interview with Esquire, box-office juggernaut in his own right – Will Smith – revealed that his whole perspective on life changed in 2013. Part of the cause? The failure of his 2013 sci-fi film “After Earth”.

A critical disaster and commercial bomb compared to Smith’s usual reliable box-office standards, Smith revealed the movie’s failure – and a major event in his personal life around the same time – changed his entire outlook:

“That was the most painful failure in my career. ‘Wild Wild West’ was less painful than ‘After Earth’ because my son was involved in ‘After Earth,’ and I led him into it. That was excruciating.

I was a guy who, when I was 15, my girlfriend cheated on me, and I decided that if I was number one, no woman would ever cheat on me. All I have to do is make sure that no one’s ever better than me, and I’ll have the love that my heart yearns for.

And I never released that [attitude] and moved into a mature way of looking at the world and my artistry and love until the failure of ‘After Earth,’ when I had to accept that it’s not a good source of creation.”

Smith says he was “devastated for about 24 minutes” after receiving the opening weekend box-office figures, and shortly after received a call that his father had cancer, saying: “That put it in perspective – viciously.”

That same day, he had an epiphany:

“That Monday started the new phase of my life, a new concept: Only love is going to fill that hole. You can’t win enough, you can’t have enough money, you can’t succeed enough. There is not enough. The only thing that will ever satiate that existential thirst is love. And I just remember that day I made the shift from wanting to be a winner to wanting to have the most powerful, deep and beautiful relationships I could possibly have.”

Smith is currently prepping for David Ayer’s “Suicide Squad” in which he plays Deadshot. The actor will next appear on screens later this month in the con artist thriller “Focus”.