May 30, 2024

Martin Lawrence on his "Ride or die, for real" friendship with Will Smith

Will Smith and Martin Lawrence – cinema’s bad boys of action-comedy – are back again in Bad Boys: Ride or Die.

BERLIN, GERMANY - MAY 27: Martin Lawrence and Will Smith attend the European premiere of BAD BOYS: RIDE OR DIE at Zoo Palast on May 27, 2024 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Gerald Matzka/Getty Images for Sony Pictures)

“It’s magical to see them both together,” says Bilall Fallah, who directs with his partner Adil El Arbi, and are best-known as simply Adil & Bilall. “It’s unbelievable, the chemistry they have. It’s always surprising when you’re behind the monitors directing the scene and they come up with this genius golden humor – you sit back, relax, and see them perform.” When that magic happens, he says, his job is easy. “They’re the best duo on the big screen, and very unique.”

BERLIN, GERMANY - MAY 27: Bilall, Will Smith, Martin Lawrence and Adil attend the European premiere of BAD BOYS: RIDE OR DIE at Zoo Palast on May 27, 2024 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Sebastian Reuter/Getty Images for Sony Pictures)

Smith says that his chemistry with Lawrence comes out of 30 years of respect for each other’s craft. “We both have grown and experienced a lot of life,” he says. “So, when we come together, the amount of respect and care, and concern for each other – it’s the only way to work.”

In the mid-1990s, Martin Lawrence and Will Smith did not know each other before Lawrence cold- called Smith to see if the star of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air would be interested in teaming with the star of Martin for an R-rated buddy cop movie. Lawrence had the script, and his sister, who was a fan of Fresh Prince, suggested that her brother call Smith. The result was not only one of the great pairings in movie history that changed their lives, but a real-life friendship too. “It’s the best phone call I ever made,” says Lawrence. “We had known of each other’s work, but we’d never met. When we did meet, there was a mutual respect and it was clear we had a connection. Even now, 30 years later, we are close friends. Even when it has been a minute since we’ve seen each other, we know we can always count on each other. Ride or die, for real.”

“Isn’t that what we all want? Someone we can count on no matter what?” adds Smith. “That’s part of the joy of these movies – bad boys for life is truly for life.”

RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA - MAY 24: Will Smith and Martin Lawrence attend the Riyadh Premiere of Columbia Pictures BAD BOYS: RIDE OR DIE in Riyadh on May 24, 2024. (Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment)

Bad Boys: Ride or Die sees Mike Lowrey (Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Lawrence) in the biggest jam they’ve ever faced: when new evidence comes to light implicating the late Captain Howard (Joe Pantoliano) in a lifetime of drug-related crimes, the Bad Boys vow to clear his name… even if it means coming in the crosshairs of the cartel and the cops.

Adil & Bilall return to the helm of the movie after also directing Bad Boys for Life and notching the franchise’s best reviews from critics and audiences alike. “When we were 19 and studying in Brussels in film school, we were always dreaming of one day being part of Hollywood, and we were always joking that if one day we would be getting the chance to go to Hollywood, we’d want to make a Bad Boys movie – a Bad Boys 3,” Bilall laughs. “But obviously, we never really believed that it would happen up until we got to ask Jerry [Bruckheimer, producer] and Will. And we’re still pinching ourselves. We are fanboys, so it’s still a very surreal feeling.”

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - MAY 22: Will Smith and Martin Lawrence attend the Dubai Premiere of Columbia Pictures BAD BOYS: RIDE OR DIE at the Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai on May 22, 2024. (Photo by Clint Egbert)

Don’t miss out on explosive action and laugh-out-loud humor Bad Boys style when Bad Boys: Ride or Die, distributed in the Philippines by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International, opens in cinemas June 5.

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