Will Smith and Donald Sutherland in Six Degrees of Separation
You might recall Will Smith's big screen debut in 1993's Six Degrees of Separation. In it he plays a gay con artist who suckers rich New Yorkers by pretending to be privileged, private-schooled, and Sidney Poitier's son. The film was to have included a gay love scene, but after he landed the part (and filming was halfway concluded) Will Smith apparently balked at actually kissing another actor onscreen. They had to use mirrors and trick camera angles to make it appear as if Smith's character locks lips with another man. Ridiculous, right? Imagine if Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhall had filmed half of Brokeback Mountain and then told Ang Lee they weren't going to do the tent scene?
I remember interviews with Will Smith explaining his behavior. He said he'd been advised against tarnishing his hetero image by none other than Denzel Washington. Arrgh! I pretty much wrote the two of them off at that point.
Around the same time another black actor, Wesley Snipes, was asked for a comment: What did he think of Will Smith's refusal and would he kiss another man onscreen. Snipes said something along the lines of "It's called acting, stupid! Get over it." (I wish I could provide a link for you and the exact early 1990's quote, but I searched everywhere and it doesn't seem to be online.)
Just shows, I sure can pick 'em. Will Smith may just be the biggest male star in the world right now, whereas poor Wesley Snipes is in straight-to-video purgatory and facing serious prison time for tax evasion.
Ah well, for that one enlightened comment alone I'll always be a Snipes fan-- no matter how many bad movies he makes or how much he cheats the IRS.
Hey, on a side note, did you know you can actually turn someone in for tax evasion and be eligible for a 15% reward? You don't even have to have very specific information -- just filing the form could trigger an IRS inquiry. Just for the heck of it, I'm turning in Will Smith and Denzel Washington.
Err, only kidding.