On Sunday, Will Smith, fresh off of his SAG win for his role in King Richard, sat down with the film’s co-star Aunjanue Ellis during the 37th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival, People reports. Both actors, who received Oscar nominations portraying the parents of tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams, talked with moderator Scott Feinberg about career milestones.
Being the funny guy that he is, the 53-year-old actor told jokes to his onscreen co-star and Feinberg centered around memorable moments from his career. Smith also mentioned how his designed pathway made room for him to become one of the most recognizable and bankable actors in the movie industry.
However, an interesting moment occurred when a disturbance occurred among the audience, leading Smith to check on the parties involved. “Is she OK?” Smith asked as he looked into the audience. The woman who responded said that someone “totally just poured a drink on us because we said, ‘This is f******g amazing.’ Apparently, we’re being too loud. But we love you, Will.”
“That’s why it’s really important to have white audiences, ’cause that would’ve gone very differently at either place where we grew up,” Smith said looking at his co-star for the inside Black comparison joke. “So, I wanna commend the white people for how y’all handled that.” He looked back at Ellis and asked, “You wanna act out the scene how it would’ve been if somebody poured a drink on you?”
Not missing the moment, the actress mimicked taking off her earrings and shoes ready for a confrontation but all in good fun. Feinberg rolled with punches letting out a calm laugh from the matter. “You’re not gonna make it back from that, Scott! You can try,” the actor said to Feinberg as they resumed the conversation for tempo needed.
James JL Lassiter, Smith’s longtime manager, attended school with the actor in Philadelphia. During the discussion, the Men in Black star gave credit to his manager for help along the journey. “I said to [Lassiter] when I was about 21 years old that I wanted to be the biggest movie star in the world, and he said, ‘OK, let me figure that out,’” Smith said.