Versatile Actor Justice Smith: From 'Jurassic World' to 'Dungeons & Dragons'
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Justice Smith, an American actor born in 1995, has gained recognition for his roles in major films such as "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom," "Pokémon Detective Pikachu," and "Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves." The versatile performer, who graduated from the Orange County School of Arts, has showcased his talents across various genres in both film and television.

 

Smith's Early Life and Heritage

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Justice Smith was born on August 9, 1995, in Los Angeles, California, to a family of mixed heritage. His father, Wayne Smith, is of African-American descent, while his mother, Duilia Setacci, has a French-Canadian and Italian background. Growing up in a diverse household, Smith was exposed to a rich cultural tapestry that would later influence his acting career. Smith attended the Orange County School of the Arts, where he majored in acting and graduated in 2013. During his senior year, he was ranked in the top one percent of young artists in the United States by the National Young Arts Foundation and received a nomination for the U.S. Presidential Scholar of the Arts, showcasing his exceptional talent from an early age.
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Breakout Role in 'The Get Down'

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Justice Smith's breakout role came in Baz Luhrmann's Netflix series "The Get Down," where he starred as Ezekiel Figuero, a half Puerto Rican, half black poet-turned-rapper in 1970s South Bronx. The show, which charted the early days of hip-hop, embraced Smith's biracial background, allowing him to portray a complex character that resonated with his own experiences. Smith described the role as challenging, often maintaining his character's dialect for 16-hour days on set, which he found emotionally taxing. Despite the difficulties, his performance in "The Get Down" established Smith as a rising star and opened doors for him to take on diverse roles in his career.
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Justice Smith Debuts as Franklin Webb in 'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom'

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Justice Smith made his debut in the Jurassic World franchise as Franklin Webb in the 2018 film "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom". Despite initially considering turning down the role due to a conflicting theater commitment, Smith ultimately accepted the part, marking his entry into major blockbuster films. His performance in "Fallen Kingdom" was well-received, leading to his return in the subsequent installment. Smith was confirmed to reprise his role as Franklin in "Jurassic World 3" (later titled "Jurassic World: Dominion"), alongside fellow returning cast members Daniella Pineda, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Chris Pratt. This continuation in the franchise solidified Smith's position in the world of big-budget Hollywood productions and expanded his global audience reach.
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Rising Star (Photos)

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Justice Smith's Awards and Nominations

Justice Smith has received recognition for his acting talents through various award nominations:
AwardCategoryWorkYear
Pena de PrataBest Supporting Actor in a Comedy SeriesGeneration2021
Black Reel Awards for TelevisionOutstanding Supporting Actor, Comedy SeriesGeneration2021
The QueertiesTV PerformanceGeneration2022
Razzie AwardsWorst Supporting ActorJurassic World: Fallen Kingdom2019
Smith's nominations span both television and film, highlighting his versatility as an actor. His portrayal of Chester in the HBO Max series "Generation" earned him nods from the Pena de Prata and Black Reel Awards in 2021, as well as The Queerties in 2022. However, not all recognition has been positive, as he received a Razzie Award nomination for Worst Supporting Actor for his role in "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom" in 2019.
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Justice Smith's Notable Film and TV Roles

Justice Smith has built an impressive filmography since his debut in 2012. The following table highlights some of his most notable roles in movies and television:
YearTitleRole
2023Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among ThievesSimon
2022Jurassic World DominionFranklin Webb
2021GenerationChester
2020All the Bright PlacesTheodore Finch
2019Pokémon Detective PikachuTim Goodman
2018Jurassic World: Fallen KingdomFranklin Webb
2016-2017The Get DownEzekiel "Books" Figuero
2015Paper TownsRadar
Smith's breakout role came in the Netflix series "The Get Down" (2016-2017), where he portrayed Ezekiel Figuero, a young poet in 1970s South Bronx. He then transitioned to blockbuster films, appearing in "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom" (2018) and "Pokémon Detective Pikachu" (2019). Smith showcased his range in the romantic drama "All the Bright Places" (2020) and the HBO Max series "Generation" (2021). Most recently, he reprised his role as Franklin Webb in "Jurassic World Dominion" (2022) and starred in the fantasy adventure "Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves" (2023).
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Justice Smith: Versatile Actor (Interviews)

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Justice Smith: Voice Acting in 'The Quarry' Video Game

Justice Smith lent his voice and likeness to the character Ryan Erzahler in the 2022 video game "The Quarry". As one of the main playable characters, Smith's performance contributed to the game's cinematic horror experience. Ryan is portrayed as a complex character, with dialogue suggesting he can be both scared and defiant in dangerous situations. However, some players found Smith's voice acting to be one of the weaker performances among the main cast, particularly in the early parts of the game. Despite this criticism, his portrayal evolved as the story progressed, with Ryan becoming more engaging in later sections of the narrative.
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Coming Out Publicly

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In June 2020, Justice Smith publicly came out as queer in an Instagram post, sharing his identity and experiences with his followers. The actor opened up about his sexuality while expressing support for the Black Lives Matter movement and the Black queer and trans community. Smith's decision to come out was met with an outpouring of support from fans and fellow celebrities who applauded his courage and vulnerability. Despite his public coming out, Smith maintains a relatively private approach to his personal life on social media. He selectively shares aspects of his life and thoughts with his followers, focusing primarily on his work, activism, and occasional glimpses into his hobbies and interests. This balanced approach allows Smith to connect with his audience while still maintaining a degree of privacy in an industry where personal lives are often heavily scrutinized.
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Closing Thoughts on Smith

Justice Smith has firmly established himself as a versatile actor in both mainstream and indie films, showcasing his ability to adapt to various genres and characters. From his breakout role in "The Get Down" to his performances in major blockbusters like "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom" and "Pokémon Detective Pikachu," Smith has demonstrated a remarkable range. His work in indie films such as "All the Bright Places" and his involvement in the HBO Max series "Generation" further highlight his commitment to diverse and challenging roles. As a 21st-century American male actor, Smith continues to push boundaries and captivate audiences with his dynamic performances, making him a notable figure in contemporary cinema.
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