Will Smith? Okay, okay, it's not so crazy now. But this was one of his first "real" acting roles, and it was a risky move at the time.
But the takeaway star of the film was Stockard Channing, who originated the role on Broadway. It's a complex, meaty role that requires serious acting chops, as a woman is forced to question her assumptions about class, society, and her connection to her fellow man. For her efforts, she was nominated for an Oscar, a Golden Globe, and a Tony.
You know what doesn't put asses in seats? Prestige.
After the Rebranding:
"You can't sit on a car like that! It'll ruin society!"
MGM tried to make it look like Will Smith was bringing some funky fresh realness to the crusty-ass Upper East Side. The studios tried their damnedest to market Six Degrees as a goofy, fish-out-of-water story about some rich people who take in a charismatic young man from the streets. Sound familiar? For anyone who primarily knew Will Smith from The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, it sounded like the exact same premise, only with 90 percent fewer black people. They wanted to trick audiences into thinking it was the kind of movie where a stuffy rich dude learns to breakdance, not the kind of movie that breaks down the hidden caste society of America.