After a whirlwind press trip, Will and Jaden Smith can relax a little. Their second movie together, After Earth, opens Friday.
The father and son, who soaked a few tissues in 2006’s The Pursuit of Happyness, play father and son again.
Will, who did the rounds with his adorable sidekick in Miami, says After Earth’s dynamics are pretty similar to those in their off-screen lives.
“It’s interesting; my character is a great general who has his son coming up in the military ranks as a cadet,” he explains. “And here’s me, being this just big, huge, ridiculously world renowned actor, and here’s my son coming up in Hollywood. You know what I mean?”
Despite the nudge-nudge, wink-wink, Jaden gets his dad’s fame. But the 14-year-old’s a bona fide star in his own right. Not just because he’s rumored to be dating a semi Kardashian ( Kylie Jenner), but because he received positive reviews in the 2010 reboot of The Karate Kid, costarring Jackie Chan.
“That was rough,” Jaden admits of the intense martial arts workouts he had to do back when he was only 11. “I was always told that Karate Kid would be the hardest movie of my career.”
Adds Will: “Well, you know, we were in China for four months. For After Earth, I think he was more disciplined and expecting to do hard work.”
Jaden does most of the heavy lifting in this M. Night Shyamalan-directed sci-fi adventure, set in the future on the planet Nova Prime. He plays Kitai, who embarks on a mission with his father, only to have the spaceship crash land on a now uninhabitable Earth. With dad seriously injured, Kitai sets out into the unknown (actually Costa Rica) to find an emergency beacon. Luckily, he has high tech gadgets to guide him. If only it weren’t for the threat of terrifying creatures like Ursas, clawed monsters that can smell your fear.
The storyline was hatched in Will Smith’s brain.
“It kind of came to me in a dream,” explains the Fresh Prince rapper-turned-Oscar nominee. “We then started discussing this as a family, and the ideas developed. What’s great is that you can get all the visual candy, but there’s fantastic performances as well.”
One major issue with filming: various costumes changes. Jaden went through a growth spurt. He told Access Hollywood he packed on around 20 pounds and grew four inches, literally growing up before our eyes.
Will, 44, couldn’t be more proud.
“It’s fantastic to get some time to spend together. I grew up in the family business. My dad owned an ice business [in Philadelphia]. For me it’s the only way I know how to parent. I know the trials and tribulations of daily stress in the workplace.”
Would the dynamic duo try for a third collaboration?
“Nothing just yet. We want to get this movie released,” says Will. “If people like it, then we’ll make our decisions from there. If not, I’m never working with this kid again!”
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