Will Smith said that he got into an argument with “Bad Boys” director Michael Bay.
Smith said Bay wanted his character to run shirtless during a chase, but he thought it was “corny.”
The two compromised, with the actor agreeing to run with an unbuttoned shirt.
“One day, Michael Bay and I had one of our biggest disputes,” Smith wrote in his self-titled memoir released on Tuesday. “This was the first time I had ever worked out. I had put on 12 pounds, and for the first time in my life, I had muscles.”
“There’s a famous scene where my character chases a car on foot over a bridge,” the star continued. “Michael was demanding that I do the scene with no shirt.”
Smith said that he told the director that it would be “corny” and unnatural to appear shirtless in the scene. But Bay reasoned that because the film was set in Miami and he was playing a “badass cop,” it would be acceptable.
“I wasn’t yet secure with my new body,” Smith recalled in his book. “The thought of standing around all day with no shirt on intimidated me.”
According to Smith, Bay was persistent and said, “No shirt, dude! Just take it off. Trust me and do what I say. I’m trying to make you a superhero!”
The two reached a comprise in which Smith’s character, Mike Lowrey, ran with an unbuttoned shirt.
“I felt like I wasn’t completely naked and vulnerable, and Michael knew that the shirt would billow like a cape when I ran.” Smith wrote.
The actor also revealed that he had secretly trained with a UCLA track coach for four months so that he would look badass while running.
Smith said that after filming the scene, Bay was thrilled.
“He smacks me on my bare chest, and screams at the top of his lungs, ‘I JUST MADE YOU A FUCKING MOVIE STAR!'”
“Bad Boys” was a solid success upon its release, spawning two sequels released in 2003 and 2020.
Smith said that the movie also changed how people perceived him.
He witnessed this first-hand when he attended a showing of “Bad Boys” during its opening weekend and heard a viewer behind him say, “Mmmm. Look at Will!” during the chase scene.
“It was the first time I had ever experienced a woman having a sexual reaction to my [manliness],” Smith said in his memoir. Up until this point in my life, I had used comedy to attract women. And now I was being objectified. It was wonderful.”
The actor added: “All I could think was, ‘OK, Michael Bay, you were right. I was wrong. Thank you.’ From that point forward, directors had to argue with me to keep my shirt on.”
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