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Will Smith: social media killed off the movie star

The star of Bright also told how it felt bizarre as a black actor to play a racist in the film.


Will Smith at Comic-Con (AP/PA)

Will Smith at Comic-Con (AP/PA)

Will Smith at Comic-Con (AP/PA)

Will Smith has said that social media has killed off the movie star by breaking down old boundaries.

He also discussed how bizarre it was to have the rare opportunity as a black actor to turn the tables and play a racist in his latest film.

The 48-year-old discussed how technology has dissolved stars’ untouchable and distant images during a panel at Comic-Con in San Diego.

“Seeing that transition, essentially the fans being more and more involved in the creative process – in terms of movie stardom it’s a huge difference,” he said.

“You almost can’t make new movie stars any more.”

Limited access to stars created “bigger than life” personas in the past but now actors must form a sort of “friendship” with the fans, he said.

“The relationship is less like the time of Madonna and Michael Jackson, your Tom Cruise, these gigantic figures,” he added.

“The shift is to, ‘We’re best friends’.”

He plays a Los Angeles police officer in Bright, a fantasy where mythical creatures and humans co-exist.

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Orcs, however, are treated as an underclass in the Netflix film by Training Day writer David Ayer.

Smith portrays a cop who mistreats the first orc officer, played by actor Joel Edgerton.

“It was spectacular for me as an African-American playing a police officer that was racist against the first orc on the force,” Smith said.

“It’s like the flip of the social concept.

“As a black dude you just don’t get a lot of movies where you’re the racist.

“It was really bizarre for me to be on the other side.”

Smith also said that he went on eye-opening ride-alongs with LAPD officers in preparation for the role.

“As an African-American it is a really different perspective for me to be in the back of the car riding around with the police officers in Los Angeles in black and Hispanic neighbourhoods and seeing the complexities from the other side,” he said.

:: Bright will be released online in December.

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