BOX OFFICE KING WILL SMITH SAYS HE?S NOT PARTICULARLY TALENTED, BUT HAS A SICKENING WORK ETHIC THAT MAKES UP FOR IT -- "60 MINUTES" SUNDAY ON CBS
He commands over $20 million a picture and has a string of blockbuster hits, but when it comes to talent, Will Smith says he's not a particularly talented actor, just a really hard-working one. The star of such mega-hits as "Independence Day" "and Men in Black" talks to Steve Kroft for a 60 MINUTES profile to be broadcast Sunday, Dec. 2 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
"I've never viewed myself as particularly talented. I've viewed myself as...slightly above average in talent," says the actor, whose latest film, "I am Legend," opens in two weeks.
"Where I excel is with [a] ridiculous, sickening work ethic," he tells Kroft. "While the other guy's sleeping, I'm working. While the other guy's eating, I'm working. While the other guy's making love, I mean, I'm making love, too, but I'm working really hard at it!"
60 MINUTES takes Smith back to his old neighborhood in West Philadelphia to see his high school, where he runs into the school's principal, a friend of his. Cameras also capture him in front of his old house, where he jokes with his father, the man responsible for instilling his work ethic. Smith tells the story of his father ordering him and his brother, ages 12 and nine at the time, to rebuild a brick wall in front of his business. The boys thought their father was crazy, but he said to them, "Now don't you ever tell me there is something that you can't do."
"I just put my head down and laid the first brick," remembers Smith. And they did it, finally, finishing the wall a year and a half later. It's still there.