The prestigious Cannes Film Festival is normally home to avant garde experiences like Kanye West’s seven screen Cruel Summer movie, or to very serious future Oscar winners.
In a populist move, however, Variety reports that Will Smith will be joining the Cannes jury this year.
Unlike in Suicide Squad, Smith won’t be the team’s leader — he will be serving under Cannes veteran Pedro Almodovar, who has won at the festival twice.
Joining them will be directors Park Chan-wook, Maren Ade, Agnès Jaoui and Paolo Sorrentino, as well as actresses Fan Binbing and Jessica Chastain. Composer Gabriel Yard will round out the team.
Although Smith has never had a movie at Cannes, he was at the festival last year, discussing what made him turn his back on movies like Wild Wild West and Men in Black and pivot towards movies like Seven Pounds and Concussion.
In the late 90’s, he said, “My focus shifted from my artistry to winning. I wanted to win. I wanted to be the biggest movie star in the world.”
That changed, according to Ad Week. Now Smith said, “When I read a movie script, it’s not, ‘Is this going to make a lot of money?’ I’m asking myself, ‘How does this improve lives.’”
How will Smith’s interest in films that matter to people impact the jury’s deliberations? Only time will tell, but we’ll all find out at the seaside this May. Until then, let us say, congrats, Will!