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The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star, 53, spoke to GQ for the magazine's November issue about his upcoming memoir, Will. During the conversation, Smith revealed who he's reached out to most when he's in need of advice.
Smith said Washington, 66, was the person he always turned to when his films didn't perform at the box office as expected, and when struggling with his personal relationships.
"Throughout the years, I would always call Denzel. He's a real sage," Smith said. "I was probably 48 or something like that and I called Denzel. He said, 'Listen. You've got to think of it as the funky 40. Everybody's 40s are funky.' "
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"He said, 'But just wait till you hit the f—it 50s,' " Smith continued. "He said, 'Just bear with your 40s.' I stopped and I was like, 'The funky 40s and the f—it 50s.' And that's exactly what happened. It just became the f—it 50s, and I gave myself the freedom to do whatever I wanted to do."
While Smith said he opened up in his book about some of the activities he did with the "freedom" he gave himself, he declined to share more details with the magazine, saying, "Some things are for GQ articles and some things are not."
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Smith said that after speaking with Washington, he was inspired to rent a home in Utah, where he stayed by himself for two weeks. He later traveled to Peru, where he attended "more than a dozen" rituals with ayahuasca — a psychoactive drug that has hallucinogenic properties — "even though he'd never even smoked weed and barely drank," according to his GQ profile.
"This was my first tiny taste of freedom," Smith wrote in his memoir, per GQ. "In my fifty plus years on this planet, this is the unparalleled greatest feeling I've ever had."
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While Washington and Smith have not yet starred in a movie together, they have been previously linked to projects like an Uptown Saturday Night reboot and a Hurricane Katrina film. Despite not teaming up in a movie, they've found plenty of success on their own — both actors were tied at $40 million on Variety's list of highest paid actors this year.
Smith is busy promoting his book but has a number of film projects in the works, too. Next up, he's set to star in slavery drama Emancipation, true crime movie The Council, action-thriller Fast and Loose, and the fourth installment in the Bad Boys franchise.