Will Smith, Barack Obama Share More than Just the Ears

Thanks to Marvel Comics, the world knows what President-elect Barack Obama would look if he were a comic book character.

Marvel's latest issue of "Spider-Man," a special Inauguration Day edition featuring Obama prominently on the cover, sold out in record numbers Wednesday.

Still in question, meanwhile, is what he would look like on the silver screen – though there has long been a popular frontrunner.

"Will and I have talked about this," exclaimed Obama last year in an interview on "Entertainment Tonight," referring to actor Will Smith. "Because he has the ears, he might have an inside track on the role."

More than his appearance, however, Smith has another notable feature in common – his multi-religious background.

Like Obama, Smith calls himself a Christian but has drawn attention over his too-close-for-comfort ties – alleged or otherwise – with other faiths.

Last summer, a new private school founded by Smith and his wife set off a media frenzy over its use of teaching methods developed by "Church" of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, among others.

Smith has also been under the microscope for his own personal ties to Scientology, which his close friend, actor Tom Cruise, is an active advocate of.

Smith, however, has denied reports that he and his wife were becoming Scientologists.

"I am a Christian. I am a student of all religions. And I respect all people and all paths," the Hollywood star told the New York Daily News.

Still, doubts remain.

According to Smith's tax returns, released last month, he and wife, actress Jada Pinkett-Smith, gave $1.3 million in donations last year, including a combined $122,500 to organizations affiliated with the Church of Scientology.

Smith's biggest single contribution, notably, was to Yesha Ministries of Philadelphia, a born-again Christian-based organization that received a whopping $250,000 from Smith. Another $200,000 went to a Christian ministry outside Los Angeles called Living Waters.

Still, the donations to three Scientology offshoots last year have kept the warning flags up.

Now, regarding Smith's plans to play Obama in a movie adaptation of his life, the actor did say he'd be up to when asked by British media.

"If I am ordered by my commander in chief to star in a film about him, I will do my duty as an American," responded Smith at the London premiere of his new film, "Seven Pounds."

Earlier this year, Smith was voted as the star who generated the most box office revenue for theaters in an annual survey by Quigley Publishing Co. He was also the highest-paid actor between June 2007 and June 2008, according to Forbes magazine, which tracked the salaries of celebrities, athletes, CEOs and other top earners throughout the year.

Smith will be among the throngs of Americans expected to attend the inauguration of President-elect Obama this coming Tuesday.