Will Smith, Martin Lawrence Talk Bad Boys Legacy, Bad Boys 5

4 min read

Ahead of the release of Bad Boys: Ride or Die, stars Will Smith and Martin Lawrence are in good spirits.

After ushering select press and influencers into an immersive Bad Boys experience, which included speed-driving and learning how to drift Porsches down controlled tracks and competing against each other in a snack-obsessed obstacle course (in which I didn’t win)—the two legends were eager to talk about the fourth installment of the beloved franchise. But before we look forward at what’s to come—including a potential fifth film—we have to take a look back on their nearly 30-year journey.

1995: Where It All Began

Back when the original Bad Boys film hit the scene, the two successful actors were deep in the throws of success with their hit shows Martin and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air making taking over the small screens nationwide. So when the opportunity to combine their star power presented itself, it was a no-brainer for studios and an even bigger no-brainer for fans. And in return, we got a series of sequels that arguably get better and better.

Specifically, Bad Boys II, which seems to be a fan-favorite, became the 10th-highest grossing film in 2003, raking in nearly $300 million worldwide. Despite it’s success—we would have to wait 17 years for another one but the Boys never lost its steam. Released in 2020, Bad Boys: For Life became the highest-grossing film of the entire franchise, coming close to the $450 million range worldwide.

Now, even though the actors are no spring chickens as they were in their 30s when the things first began—they and the new film are poised to still deliver at the highest level. For Smith in particular, coming back to franchise gave him an opportunity to do some reflecting on how to approach life through his art.

“Over a career, when you start paying attention you notice that the character choices, and experiences and the themes and the things on and off-camera—are one thing,” Smith shared with The Root. “So I started to realize that when I concentrate on making a movie, I’m hoping to make a masterpiece. But when you back out, the whole thing should be your masterpiece. Your life wants to be your masterpiece…Everything is my art. That was one of the big epiphanies I had on this one.”

Martin Lawrence and Will Smith attend the “Bad Boys II” movie premiere at the Mann’s Village theatre on July 9, 2003 in Westwood, California.

Martin Lawrence and Will Smith attend the “Bad Boys II” movie premiere at the Mann’s Village theatre on July 9, 2003 in Westwood, California.
Photo: Kevin Winter (Getty Images)

30 Years of Friendship

In numerous interviews, both Smith and Lawrence shared that they’d never worked together and only knew of each other prior to filming. But once the cameras began rolling, scenes began, and their online chemistry grew—their offline camaraderie and friendship blossomed. Four movies in, the two are still grateful to work with each other and to give fans something they know they’ll love.

“I just felt good about this movie all the way,” Lawrence told The Root. “I knew we was making a good movie and I just loved it. And just to be back with this guy doing the fourth one, [I’m] over the moon.”

Bad Boys: Back at It Again Soon?

With the heightened anticipation from the actors themselves, buzz from audiences and select crowds who’ve already seen it, and positive reviews already pouring in—the stage is set for a well-received, preemptive Bad Boys 5 announcement. And Smith and Lawrence aren’t ruling it out.

“Well you know masterpieces is so hard to come by,” Smith joked before continuing: “I love working with Marty Mar and everyday on set, it was—like you said, it was difficult. We got shut down and all of that. At the beginning of the strike, Vanessa [Hudgens] got pregnant so when she came back, we had to shoot around that. So there were really different challenges and adversities, but we’re like war buddies now.”

“We done been through it,” added Lawrence.

Hmmm…so they’re saying there’s a chance? We’ll take it.

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