In 1996, actress Vivica A. Fox had her major Hollywood breakthrough with her acclaimed performance as bank teller-turned-bank robber Francesca “Frankie” Sutton in the classic action film, Set It Off. Now, according to what the actress recently said, we may have Will Smith to thank for Fox’s iconic role.
In an interview on Tamron Hall, Fox revealed that Will Smith nail her audition for Set It Off. The acting duo starred as husband and wife in the 1996 blockbuster Independence Day. Aside from her Set It Off alter ego, Fox revealed that she was also up for the role of Tisean “T.T.” Williams.
“We were actually filming ‘Independence Day,’ and at the time he was dating Jada. And I told him ‘I got the audition coming up,’ because they made me audition for two roles: for Tee Tee and for Frankie. And he was like ‘You’re Frankie,’” Fox said. “So he said ‘Come to my trailer,’ and he coached me and was like ‘Go in there and just take it.’ And I’m so grateful ‘cause I went in there and I nailed the audition and got the part.”
The role of Tisean eventually went to then-newcomer Kimberly Elise, while Fox nailed her audition and secured the role of Franke. Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett Smith were cast in their respective roles of Cleo and Stony, and the rest of history.
Directed by F. Gary Gray and made with a budget of $9 million, Set It Off grossed $41 million at the box office, becoming the highest-grossing film from New Line Cinema in 1996.
Watch Fox’s interview with Hall below: