There’s a reason Will Smith is a movie star. In fact, there are many and they’re all on full display as the 70th annual Cannes Film Festival kicked off on the French Riviera, Wednesday.
Cinephiles were a little perplexed when the man responsible for giving the world Collateral Beauty was picked to judge the world’s most prestigious film festival alongside luminaries like Pedro Almodovar and Paolo Sorrentino.
Rather than tone down his Will Smith-ness in an attempt to match the seriousness of the Cannes red carpet, Smith attended Wednesday’s opening night screening on an all out charm offensive.
While his counterparts went through the motions, Smith hammed it up with anyone who crossed his path, as selfies, high fives, and even some dance moves reigned down on the Croisette.
By the time the night’s ceremonies were underway, the tuxedo and couture-clad attendees had been clinically diagnosed with an acute case of fever. It’s symptoms included wide smiles, saucer eyes and raucous applause. The only perscription? More Will Smith.
The following day, Smith wanted to make it known that he didn’t fly all the way to the south of France to be a trophy judge.
“West Philadelphia is a long way from Cannes,“ he told the gathered press. “The Cannes Film Festival is the ultimate prestige in cinema.”
Smith said that watching three films a day is a daunting proposition, but that more than anything, hopes to “learn.” At one point, he even locked horns with jury head Pedro Almodovar, who said that Netflix poses a threat to movie theaters.
“There’s very little cross between going to the cinema and watching what they watch on Netflix in my home,“ Smith said. "In my house, Netflix has been nothing but an absolute benefit. They get to see films they absolutely wouldn’t have seen.”
It’s no surprise that Smith had Netflix’s back. His upcoming fantasy crime saga (yes, that’s a thing) Bright, will premier as a Netflix exclusive in December.
“Netflix brings a great connectivity,” Smith added. “There are movies that are not on a screen within 8,000 miles of them. They get to find those artists.“
If the next ten days of “Will Smith goes to Cannes” are as explosive as the first, we may need to consider booking a flight.