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Legendary actor Will Smith tells a story about getting a 3 AM call from his dad after Independence Day broke box office records.

LAS VEGAS — At a conference full of news on cloud storage, enterprise device management and other technical advances, Will Smith had some observations of his own about the emerging world of technology and data.

The actor, musician, comedian and all-around entertainer was one of the featured conversations at IBM’s InterConnect conference at the Mandalay Bay Hotel here on Monday. He also spoke at another IBM conference – IBM Amplify – at the MGM Grand on the same day.

Continue reading for a few highlights from his remarks at InterConnect.

On technology: “A hero used to be someone up on the screen, but now you can be a hero in your own living room. You can create something that 15 or 20 years ago would not have been possible.”

On luck in business: “When ‘Independence Day’ came out, it broke all the attendance records. It was huge. So my father calls me and my phone rings in LA at 3 in the morning and he says: Hey, you see these numbers. Remember when I told you that there ain’t no such thing as luck? Remember when I told you there was only the luck you make? Remember when I told you luck only happened when opportunity meets preparation? That’s bulls**t. You’re the luckiest man alive.”

On playing – and then seeing Muhammad Ali – react to his portrayal at the opening of the film “Ali”:  “We get about an hour into the movie and he has given no signals. He’s just sitting there watching and then we get to one scene and he turns to his wife and says to his wife, ‘Girl, was I that crazy?'”

On his version of using data to improve his career: “I go with my gut, but I like to study. I study everything. So when I wanted to make the transition from television to movies…I wanted to be the biggest movie star in the world, so I’ll need to make the biggest movie. So I looked at the top 10 movies and I tried to find a pattern. 10 out 10 of the top 10 movies (he looked at) were special effects movies. And 9 out of the top 10 movies were special effects movies with creatures. And 8 out of the top 10 movies were special effects movies with creatures and a love story. I was like an African American Watson. So then I did ‘Men in Black’ and ‘Independence Day’ back-to-back and in the true version of data analysis, that’s what it was I did – these special effects movies that would travel globally.”

On what he learned about global success: “Being a global artist was important to me also. I was in Australia at the opening of Planet Hollywood. I was really young then. I saw Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone sitting at a table and I was like ‘oh, my God’ – so I just walked up to them and said ‘listen, I’m not going to take a lot of your time, but you guys are the biggest movies stars in the world and I want to be the biggest movie star in the world. What do I have to do?’ Arnold looked up at me and he said (Smith now switches to a quite decent Arnold voice impression): ‘If you want to be the biggest movie star in the world, you have to be famous around the world. And if you want to be famous around the world, you have to go there.’ So I got it — what he was saying if that you have to travel… so every time I had a movie, I would go to the opening in that country.”

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