Will Smith and his son, Jaden Smith, co-star in the new sci-fi epic “After Earth.” | AP photo
His trademark line in any summer movie is “Aw, hell no!”
But when Will Smith worked with his son Jaden in the new film “After Earth” (opening today at local theaters) it was definitely an “aw, hell yes” moment.
“He doesn’t ask me for much advice,” says Smith. “Jaden is the kind of actor who really digs deep and knows what he wants to do when he gets to the set. Jaden is completely in character on a set. I’m one proud dad.”
Smith, now 44, and his son are saving what’s left of the world in M. Night Shyamalan’s latest film A crash landing leaves Kitai Raige (Jaden) and his father, Cypher (Will), stranded on Earth. That’s bad news, because it’s 1,000 years into the future, and no one lives here anymore after humans had to escape the planet.
But Cypher is hurt, and they have to signal for a rescue.
Smith has been looking for a sci-fi epic.
“I was 11 when I saw ‘Star Wars’ for the first time, and that was it for me. My mind was blown,” he says. “I wanted ‘After Earth’ to be the perfect collision of art, entertainment and education.”
He also wanted to delve into environmental issues, although they were a bit foreign to him. “I grew up in the concrete jungle,” Smith says. “It seemed normal that 80 percent of my environment was concrete. So, this movie was a huge eye-opener for me about what it meant to treat nature in the right way. I didn’t realize that a tree is delicate and an eco-system is so fragile.”
His eyes are open now.
“We have to take these environmental issues seriously,” he says. “It’s something we need to put at the top of our focus. For instance, you can’t ignore how these weather patterns have changed in the last 60 years. I also believe that the exploration of space is a necessity.”
He had his space from Hollywood during an extended break to help with the kids while his wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith, worked. “I was daddying and husbanding,” he says. “There was a point where everyone said, ‘Dad, look at that pile of scripts for you. Get back to work.’ ”
Aw hell, yes.
Big Picture News Inc.