Addressing media at Johannesburg during a promotion tour of the film ”Ali”, Smith said it was terrifying to play an icon.
”You spend a year and a half not being able to sleep, just being in sure terror of potentially messing up the Muhammad Ali story.
It’s just something you do once. I can’t even imagine taking on something to that level again in my career,” he said.
Smith and director Michael Mann arrived in South Africa on Friday to promote the -million film which tells the story of boxing legend Muhammad Ali.
Smith on Sunday said he chose Mann to direct the film because he wanted it to be ”incredible and an honest portrayal of Muhammad Ali.
He said in terms of research the film was accurate and was not a ”glorification of Ali”.
Smith, also a talented rapper, said he was not involved in the soundtrack of the movie as he spent all of his time trying to be Ali.
However, his rapping skills came in handy when he needed to develop the voice patterns of the boxing legend.
”My experience with rapping and being on the stage, I have taken my voice to a lot of limits. I have learnt technically how to control the sound of my voice which helped me in creating the dialect of Muhammad Ali,” he said.
He said his best loved scene in the film, was the scene shot in Zaire where Ali makes a comeback into the world of boxing.
Smith who instantly fell in love with the African continent, also confirmed rumours that he intended on buying a house in South Africa.
”I just got to get my wife here who is away in Australia now working on the Matrix two and three. As soon as I get her here we will buy a place,” he said.
Smith is married to actress Jada Pinkett, who also starred in the film.
Probably most famous for his role as the hilarious Fresh Prince of Bellair, Smith has not lost his sense on humour and joked about his Oscar nomination for best actor.
”I haven’t planned my speech yet. I am not confident that there would be a necessity for a speech. Anytime your work is being acknowledged is an honour I don’t believe that truly in my heart there is a necessity to win an award for the valediction for the work that we did in this film,” he said.
He said that since his start in the acting profession, he always knew that he wanted a well-ground film career.
He jokingly said the only question asked in Hollywood is ”can you make money?”.
”Hollywood does not care what colour you are, how old you are, the reason that Ali was able to be made at Sony Studios was they knew they had Men In Black II coming,” he joked.
He said the reason that Denzyl Washington, Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence and himself were able to make films that they wanted, was because they made money for the studios.
”And as we make more money for the studios, more opportunities would be presented to Afro-Americans actors and writers and directors. The only issue in Hollywood is the privilege that we can make money,” he said.
The tour will end with on Sunday afternoon with Smith and Mann showing their film to Mandela. – Sapa