making the rounds

Will Smith Is Giving a Pretty Bizarre Press Tour Over in Europe

Actor Will Smith attends the
Photo: Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images

Making his European press rounds for Men in Black III, Will Smith isn’t going by the book. He peaked when he gave a chastising face slap to an overzealous, overamorous red-carpet reporter in the Ukraine, but it wasn’t any less strange before or after — witness the accompanying press shot from Spain, where holding a tennis racket and ball from Super Mario Bros. 3’s Giant Land totally makes sense to promote a film about aliens and time travel and shiznit. Here, Vulture takes stock of Smith’s unusual jaunt through Europe.

England: The Song
Smith segued fairly affably from a conversation about The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air being his most globally lasting achievement into a full-on performance of the theme song, replete with an alarmingly boisterous audience shouting along. It’s fun seeing Will go in on the song again, but awkward to witness it in this environment, without a neon baseball cap anywhere in sight.

Russia*: The Slap
As Sacha Baron Cohen well knows, a fine way to promote a film and a personal brand is to do something shocking/“shocking” and antagonistic on a red carpet. This slap heard round the Internets was a definitive huh? moment, and an unplanned one on Smith’s part, but everybody won. Especially that reporter.

France: The Sacrebleu 
“God bless America,” Smith says to a 75 percent tax rate on France’s millionaires. There’s a longer version here, where Will2K says, “I believe very firmly that America is the only place on Earth that I could exist, so I will pay anything that I need to pay to keep my country growing,” but there is a French fellow translating over him, so watch out.

*This post previously misidentified the slap’s location as Ukraine. The slapped reporter is Ukrainian.

Will Smith Is Giving a Pretty Bizarre Press Tour