Source: Getty Images for RSIFF

Will Smith

Will Smith has confirmed he is making a sequel to his 2007 sci-fi I Am Legend, and is working on the script with Michael B. Jordan; while the US actor also addressed his controversial Oscars slap at the 2022 ceremony.

Speaking at an in-conversation session at Red Sea International Film Festival in Saudi Arabia, Smith said, ”I have a call with Michael B. Jordan tomorrow. The script just came in… I’m probably giving away too much information…”

Smith said that, while his character Robert Neville dies at the end of the first film, the DVD extras contained an alternative ending where the character survives - and the sequel will exist in that world. 

”We’re going with the mythology of the DVD version where my character lived,” said Smith. ”I can’t tell you any more but Michael B. Jordan is in and we’re doing it.”

Directed by Francis Lawrence and released by Warner Bros in late 2007, I Am Legend grossed $585m worldwide, including $256m in North America.

The sequel was first announced in spring 2022, with Akiva Goldsman, writer and producer of the first film, also returning.


Smith was making one of his first public appearances since the infamous Oscars 2022 ceremony, where he slapped host Chris Rock, shortly before Smith won the best actor award for King Richard. 

”What I’ve experienced in my adversities of the last couple of years is I have to be clear about: I can’t need others to applaud for me to stay focused on my mission,” said Smith. ”I have always wanted to put good into the world, I have always wanted to make people smile, I have always been devoted to the process of joy and inspiration. I want you to feel good, I am here because in my deepest heart I want you to feel good.

”At the same time, I am deeply human,” continued the actor. ”My virtue is not yet perfected. I am in the process of perfecting my virtue. The greatest thing that has happened is I have been deeply humbled and deeply inspired to perfect my light. That’s what this next phase of my life is going to be – perfecting and shining my light as brightly as I can on as many people as I can.”

Smith arrived at the topic in response to a question about fame, which he called “a unique monster.”

“I’ve had to be really careful; you can’t get excited when everybody is saying good things about you, because the more you take when people are saying good things about you, the more hurt you’re going to be when people are saying bad things about you.”

Later in the talk, he said, ”You’re going to make mistakes - I’ve made tonnes of my own mistakes.” A member of the audience shouted, “we love your mistakes!”, bringing a laugh from the actor, who responded “We all make mistakes.”

He addressed his energetic approach to life, saying, ”I love figuring things out; puzzles, problems. So I started making my own problems. Life is going too good, I need some problems!”

Talking about the different types of films he has made in his near-40-year career, Smith said whether large- or small-scale, they all come back to love. “With blockbusters, the block that gets busted is your heart,” said the actor.

Smith also spoke effusively about Saudi Arabia, saying on several occasions in the hour-long talk that he would love to make a film there. When asked what his next steps might be, before he could answer a member of the excited local audience shouted out “A movie with Denzel Washington!”

”A movie with Denzel!” laughed Smith, “yes, a movie with Denzel Washington in Saudi”, to cheers from the packed house at the Vox Cinemas venue in Jeddah. “What’s happening in Saudi is gigantic,” said Smith in response to a question about how creative talents from the region could work with Hollywood. ”Stay in Saudi and build your community here.”

The session was hosted by Lebanese presenter Raya Abirached.

Smith arrived in Jeddah a couple of days before the festival opening on Thursday, November 30; fans have posted pictures of him around the city throughout the week.

He attended the opening ceremony for the world premiere of Saudi fantasy feature HWJN, and was mobbed by fans both outside the Ritz-Carlton venue and once inside.

The In Conversation programme continues on Sunday, December 3 with Egyptian actress Amina Khalil.

RSIFF runs until Saturday, December 9, closing with Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli animation The Boy And The Heron.