From Kristen Stewart to Benedict Cumberbatch: 2022 Santa Barbara International Film Festival Tribute Highlights | Festivals and Awards
“I kind of ran away,” he said blankly.
Originally a rapper (he was the first to win a Grammy for Best Rap Performance), Smith said he was very determined to become a movie star. He admits that there was no work-life balance early in his career. “Like an athlete at my best, I’m always ready so I don’t have to. I want to play with the best people, so no drugs, no booze, no parties.”
Smith and his creative partners rented the top 10 movies of all time to see if they had a pattern. It’s all special effects movies with monsters and love stories. Basically, Smith told the rabid crowd, “I want to be Eddie Murphy in Star Wars.”
For Ellis, star status is less of a rush and more of a train that’s been picking up steam over the past five years, she said, with critically acclaimed performances such as the extremely flattering in “If Beale Street Could Talk.” Dear Mrs Hunt. “It was so liberating to be immersed in it and not care what anyone thought of me,” she said. “It was one of the funniest experiences I’ve ever had. I loved creating characters; the goal wasn’t to be me.”
Her interest in acting was ignited at her church. “If you grew up in a church in the South,” she explained, “you’re an actor. You have to be in Easter plays, Valentine’s plays…”
On a field trip from Mississippi to New York, she saw her first professional game: fence Starring Courtney B. Vance. “He was the first person I saw on stage,” she said. “I later played his wife (in ‘Lovecraft Country’).”
One of the tribute’s more moving experiences came from the presentation of a clip of an emotional kitchen scene in “King Richard,” after which Smith shared with the audience that Ellis whispered in his ear that it was the first time she’d seen it. Smith joked Say, “You should see some of your movies, they’re amazing.”
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