Will Smith and his Men In Black director Barry Sonnenfeld were known for roughhousing every now and then. But at one point Smith might have taken the roughhousing a little too far.
After coming off his training in Ali, the Oscar-winner decided to try his newfound moves on Sonnenfeld. But things didn’t go so well with the prolific filmmaker after challenging the star.
Will Smith felt he could ‘beat the living crap’ out of a normal person after ‘Ali’
Smith went through the kind of training that Ali himself endured to transform himself into the boxer. This included learning how to fight, which often had Smith being knocked out by real fighters.
“There’s something cathartic about getting knocked down and standing back up, something really animalistic that puts you in touch with the center of who you are. It’s the concept of fight or flight. You really discover who you are in that 30 seconds before the bell rings, and especially in that five seconds after the first time you get clipped,” Smith once said in a 2001 interview with Playboy.
Although he wasn’t sure if he could take on any professional fighters, he was confident in taking down the average man.
“You have to spend large portions of your life doing something to be great. No one can train for a year and compete with a professional in anything. But the average person on the street, I will beat the living crap out of,” he claimed.
Will Smith once knocked out his ‘Men In Black’ director
After coming off filming Ali, the blockbuster megastar was eager to test his newfound moves. And he did so against his Men In Black director Barry Sonnenfeld. The two were initially just having fun, but Sonnenfeld discovered Smith now packed a bigger punch than he realized.
“We had inflatable boxing gloves so we’re playing with the inflatable boxing gloves and I’d just done Ali. The gloves are huge,” Smith once told Total Film (via Contact Music). So we’re doing this and we’re playing and we’re playing and we’re playing, and I punched him and the glove popped and…”
Afterward, Sonnenfeld confirmed that Smith “knocked me unconscious.”
But this wasn’t the first time Sonnenfeld was hurt by the actor. The two have a history of roughhousing with each other. However, this has often led to Sonnenfeld being on the receiving end of injury.
“I describe him as if he’s an 8-month-old Great Dane puppy. You know, on various shows he’s harmed me. On Wild, Wild West he broke my fifth metacarpal in five places,” Sonnenfeld once told NPR.
When asked how Smith did that, the filmmaker revealed that he was the one who hit Smith’s shoulder. But hitting each other was the nature of their friendship.
“So Will and I got into a habit of trading punches. And he would hit me as hard as he could, and I would collapse in pain, in my shoulder. And then I would hit him as hard as I could and he would laugh uncontrollably,” he continued.
Barry Sonnenfeld felt like a battered wife dealing with Will Smith
The Bad Boys star even accidentally ended up sending Sonnenfeld to the hospital. But because of the origin of his injury, he couldn’t tell the doctor why he was there. Instead, Sonnenfeld lied to the doctor by claiming the injury was his fault.
“And when the doctor rolled up my sleeve to take my blood pressure, he saw that my shoulder was covered in red, orange, purple, green and yellow welts from Will hitting me. And he said ‘what’s that?’ And I said I have no idea. So basically, I was a battered wife,” Sonnenfeld quipped.
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