Will Smith has starred in plenty of popular and critically received movies over the years. However, the ‘90s movie Men in Black is the film that threw Smith into Hollywood’s eye-line for good. But, despite the science fiction movie being tied to the star’s legacy – it turns out that he wasn’t the only actor up for the intergalactic gig.
In Men in Black, Smith played the role of James Darrell Edwards III (aka Agent J), a former NYPD detective who the MIB recruits. The Men in Black is an organisation that monitors and polices aliens as well as the general public’s knowledge of extra-terrestrial existence. Smith shined in the role, being nominated for the Best Actor Saturn award for his work, but we almost missed his performance due to production’s eye on a TV series star.
During an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, David Schwimmer, who famously played the role of Ross Geller in the hit ‘90s series Friends, revealed that he was initially up for Smith’s part in the Men in Black films.
However, due to the production schedule of the 1997 comedy movie Men in Black, clashing with Friends and the romance movie Since You’ve Been Gone – which he starred in and directed – Schwimmer ultimately turned down the part of Agent J.
“It wasn’t even like a choice,” the actor explained, revealing that he didn’t regret turning down the gig at the end of the day. Things did work out for the best, as Schwimmer could focus on projects that were more personal to him, and Smith wound up being the perfect person for the Men in Black films too.
Schwimmer is currently busy with the new movie Little Death. Will Smith also has his hands full with several projects, including Bad Boys 4 and the remake of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.
For more nostalgia, here are the best Friends episodes that you can watch and the best movies of all time.