Are Will Smith and Martin Lawrence Still Friends?

Will Smith has had a long and successful career. While some of his projects have been solo, a lot of his most successful films and shows owe their success to his chemistry with the cast that he worked alongside. The Bad Boys franchise is one of Smith’s most well-known projects. He and Martin Lawrence’s chemistry and comedic timing made for instant classics. But it’s been a long time since the stars first worked together. Are Smith and Lawrence still friends?

Will Smith and Martin Lawrence at the premiere of Columbia Pictures' "Bad Boys For Life"
Will Smith and Martin Lawrence | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Will Smith and Martin Larewnce’s friendship

When the idea for Bad Boys was greenlit, Lawrence was cast first. At the time, Smith’s show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was doing well and Smith’s own stardom was skyrocketing. It was ultimately Lawrence’s sister who suggested Smith to play opposite Lawrence.

“My sister… she brought Will to my attention,” Lawrence said on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. “She was like you should do the movie with Will So, I called Will, and we set up a dinner and Will came to my house. Five minutes after talking to Will, he got the job.

“It was like one of the best things I’ve done and now Will is like the franchise,” he continued. “You can’t do it without him.”

The adversity that Lawrence and Smith faced while doing the movie, cemented their friendship. Bad Boys was originally meant to star two white leads.

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“At the time, two Black leads it like ‘ehh’ … Martin fought to have me in Bad Boys, and the big part of the original success was because, after that, [producer] Don [Simpson] and [producer] Jerry [Bruckheimer] refused to let it be a black movie,” Smith said on  HBO’s The Shop: Uninterrupted. “They fought the studio and said it’s not a black movie.”

The push for Lawrence and Smith paid off as the movie that was shot with a $19 million budget went on to gross over $140 mullion, according to boxofficemojo.com and inspired two sequels.

Are Will Smith and Martin Lawrence still friends?

It’s been over two decades since Smith and Lawrence first worked together. During that time, the two produced two follow up movies, Bad Boys II in 2003 and Bad Boys for Life in 2020. When they came together again to do Bad Boys for Life, the pair worried that their dynamic wouldn’t be the same.

“We hadn’t really done anything for 25 years so there was a little concern [over] the chemistry,” Smith told DeGeneres in the 2019 interview. “But literally the first moment on stage, it was right back.”

Though the chemistry remained the same, some things did still change between the first and third films.

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“When we did the first two Bad Boys, we were young, we could run fast, we could jump higher,” Lawrence said in a 2020 interview with Entertainment Weekly. “On Bad Boys for Life, we just rely on the stuntmen a lot more.”

But despite the pair’s limitations, their friendship is still intact, which means fans could be seeing more Bad Boys films.

“I think we have something special, and I want that to keep going,” Lawrence said.