Why Will Smith Considers 'I Am Legend' One of His Greatest Successes

I am Legend

Will Smith stars in Francis Lawrence's 2007 film that begins years after a plague kills most of humanity on Earth and transforms those who survived into monsters. Smith plays the sole survivor in New York City as he struggles to find a cure. The film is based on Richard Matheson's 1954 novel of the same name.

"I’m obsessed with trying to put small character dramas into the middle of blockbuster packages."

Will Smith counts I Am Legend as one of the films he is most proud of, he told The Hollywood Reporter's Scott Feinberg during an Awards Chatter podcast.

"I’m obsessed with trying to put small character dramas into the middle of blockbuster packages," said Smith. "The most successful I’ve ever been with that concept is I Am Legend."

He explained further, "I Am Legend easily could’ve been a stage play, right? You know, a one-man show, a dude with a dog — you generally would think you need a little bit more than that for a blockbuster, but to date that’s my biggest opening and my second biggest film."

Smith added, "So that’s an obsession for me, to not act so much that people don’t want to see it. You [can] act so much that you turn people off, or you [can] put so many creatures in it that now people don’t take the acting seriously."



The actor, whose latest film Concussion will be released worldwide on Christmas day, also talked to THR about the beginning of his career. He remembered strategizing with manager James Lassiter.

"I said to JL, 'I want to be the biggest movie star in the world,' " recalled Smith. "And he said, 'Okay. Well, let’s figure out what that means.' And he went and got the top 10 movies of all time, the list of the top 10 movies of all time at the box office — top 10 box office successes — and we also looked at them, adjusted for inflation and views versus dollar value. Also, we looked at all the different variations." 

"What we found is at the center, there were always special effects," said Smith. "So it was always special effects, there was always creatures, there was always a love story. So we started looking for movies that had special effects, creatures, and a love story."