From Fresh Prince to King Richard, personal upsets have so far failed to derail his childhood goal to be the world’s biggest film star

There’s a seemingly offhand quality which is central to the appeal of Will Smith: an innate magnetism and loose-limbed, casual coolness. But the career path from teenage rap artist to TV actor to superstar status was anything but effortless; it was the result of a self-described “psychotic” work ethic and meticulous, perhaps even obsessive, planning.

For a while, at least, he was one of the most bankable film actors on the planet – a planet that he saved on a regular basis in summer blockbusters. But while that kind of success rate is hard to sustain, Smith has shown himself to be extremely adaptable compared to his contemporaries. From film actor/musician, he has evolved into a multimedia phenomenon. He has adopted a very marketable openness and accessibility, and embraced personal failures as teachable moments.

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