Will SMITH has kicked alien butt in "Independence Day," in both of the "Men in Black" films and in "I, Robot." He pretended to be Sidney Poitier's son in "Six Degrees of Separation" and received an Oscar nomination for best actor as legendary boxer Muhammad Ali in the biopic "Ali."
But while Smith has infused most of his characters with an acerbic sense of humor, he had never done a romantic film comedy until "Hitch," opening Feb. 11. "I had never been offered any film like this one -- that's for sure," says Smith.
In "Hitch," Smith plays Alex "Hitch" Hitchens, a legendary -- albeit anonymous -- "date doctor" who, for a fee, helps lovelorn men woo the women of their dreams. While coaching a timid accountant (Kevin James) who is enamored of a beautiful secretary, Hitch finds himself falling in love with Sara (Eva Mendes), a smart-as-a-whip gossip columnist.
"I always look back at my filmography before I accept a project to kind of see what the pattern is," Smith says. "The thing I realized is essentially every episode of 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' was a romantic comedy. So when I was playing the scenes in 'Hitch,' I felt really comfortable."
Of course, Smith says, he's always been comfortable around women. "For so much of my life, everything I have done has been attached to a woman's pleasure," he explains, laughing. "I got good grades in school to see that look on my mother and grandmother's face. I don't know how well you know me or have seen me in public, but I am really great with women. Listen, I am amazing with women."
Smith believes "Hitch" works as a comedy because even with all of its broad humor, the film is rooted in something deeper. "If you ground a situation in real emotion you can do anything," he says. "This film is completely grounded in the inexorable desire of humans to be in love."