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Will Smith Talks Vanessa Hudgens’ Pregnancy on ‘Bad Boys: Ride or Die’

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Will Smith has only good things to say about his co-star, Vanessa Hudgens, including how she doesn’t let her baby bump get in the way of a hard day’s work!

Speaking with ET’s Kevin Frazier on Wednesday during a screening of Bad Boys: Ride or Die, the 55-year-old actor recalled working with the mom-to-be on the fourth installment in the beloved Bad Boys franchise, in which the 35-year-old actress returned as weapons expert Kelly after she made her debut in 2020’s Bad Boys for Life.

While filming for Ride or Die began in late March 2023, production was delayed several months by 2023’s SAG-AFTRA strike, which lasted from July to November 2023. When the actors resumed their work, Hudgens joined production with a special guest — her unborn child!

Smith recalls the difficulty the actress encountered handling the film’s stunts with her growing baby bump, noting that the crew “had to start shooting around it.”

Vanessa HudgensStefanie Keenan/VF24/WireImage for Vanity Fair

“So the strike happened (and) when she came back and we had to finish the movie, it was really (about) trying to figure out how to shoot around (the bump),” Smith tells ET.

Gushing that the Grease Live! alum is “a hard worker” who “wants to get it done,” he adds, “I was like, ‘No, don’t worry. You’ll always be able to tell your child that they were in this scene with you.'” 

Hudgens announced her pregnancy in March by debuting her baby bump on the 2024 Academy Awards red carpet.

The High School Musical alum — who is expecting her first child with her husband, Colorado Rockies player Cole Tucker — previously spoke to ET about her return to the Bad Boys franchise alongside Smith, Martin Lawrence, Alexander Ludwig, Paola Nuñez, Eric Dane, Ioan Gruffudd, Jacob Scipio, Melanie Liburd and Tasha Smith.

“I mean, it’s just like such a classic beloved story and it’s really neat being able to go on this journey with them and have so much time go by,” she said of the new installment. “We really leaned into the fact that they are a bit older and things changing and they’re not necessarily operating at the speed they once knew.”

“It’s fun to be around and I think there’s like a lot of belly laughs and (it’s) action-packed,” Hudgens added. “It’s going to be a great movie.” 

Meanwhile, Smith tells ET that fans who love the classic Mike and Marcus banter are in for some new surprises as well as an exciting sequel overall as they “expanded the Bad Boys universe.”

“We took an aggressive shot with this movie, we tried to keep it exciting — we wanted to be (a) full-on popcorn movie but we wanted it to grow with the characters,” he said of the film. “Not try to make the 25-year-old version of the movie — no, these dudes make it be age-appropriate.”

As a result, Smith jokes that his stunt work was “terrible” this time around. 

“We had a really, really great stunt team,” he teases. “I still want it to be authentic, so I know how to adjust, you know, I know ‘Ehh, maybe it’s not a four punch and a flip and a run and jump over a thing.’ Maybe we take the jump out in a couple of the shots.” 

Either way, fans can still expect a high-octane film that delivers the thrills they have come to expect.

“For me, it has to stand on its own,” Smith says of returning to his Bad Boys role. “What I told myself is I would never do to the fans is make a sequel just because it would be cool to have a sequel.” 

He adds, “This one lives up to my standards.”

The King Richard star also shares that the cast and crew worked hard to give audience members more characters to love (and hate) and a story that works not only as a follow-up to the previous three films but as its own concept, entirely. 

“There are multiple scenes where you will cheer for multiple characters,” he says, adding, “It’s Mike and Marcus just like you love them but we’ve expanded and there’s more room for more cast and it’s open and, you know, people are smashing.”

Bad Boys: Ride or Die is in theaters on June 7. 

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