Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 30th 2013 Contents C11
Thursday, May 30, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Will Smith has a new outlook on
teenagers: Parents do indeed
The rapper-turned-actor says he has "grown
a lot" since writing the Grammy-winning 1988
hit that humorously declared they didn t.
All three of his children now at least dabble
in music and acting, most notably 14-year-
old Jaden, who stars with his father in the
new sci-fi film After Earth, opening tomorrow.
Even in the midst of a globe-hopping pro-
motional tour for the movie, Smith recognises
the downside to making stardom a family
"I think that the major risk of this particular
business is strictly emotional," he said in a
"The business has almost a narcotic quality.
So it s almost as if you re introducing a narcotic
into your kid s life.
"So for (wife) Jada (Pinkett Smith) and I,
the most important thing is that they have to
stay focused and grounded on the fact that
they are giving. You don t make movies for
your ego. You make movies to transfer infor-
mation, to bring joy, to add value to the world."
At an After Earth promotional event at the
under-construction Virgin Galactic spaceport
in the New Mexico desert, Smith did every-
thing he coul to playfully poke at his son s
When Jaden loudly dropped a water bottle
during a TV interview, he quickly reprimanded:
"You re kidding, right? You re kidding. That s
the most unprofessional thing I ve seen you
Smith reached over to shield his son s face
from bright camera lights, taunting the teen
as a "super mega movie star, towering over
you like a shadow over you. And you re living
in his shadow. And you ve got to do interviews
in his shadow."
Jaden, obviously accustomed to the teasing,
responded with calm confidence and some of
dad s hammy humour, saying he lived "nat-
urally" in the spotlight.
"You have to try to put your shadow on
me," said Jaden, who rode his skateboard
through a hall between interviews.
"But eventually your arm gets tired and it
falls away and you let me go back to my natural
His father nodded in mock sincerity.
"Oh, that s deep. You are a deep being," he
Their film is set in a future where nature
has turned on humans and survivors were
forced to start a new civilization on another
planet. Jaden plays a trainee trying to follow
in the footsteps of his father, a famous military
leader played by Smith. When the two crash-
land on an inhospitable Earth, Jaden s character
must prove his own abilities to survive, and
save his father in the process.
"It is very allegorical in a way, right?" said
screenwriter Gary Whitta, who developed the
story with Smith and co-wrote the film with
director M Night Shyamalan.
"Jaden I m sure looks up to Will and is like
Wow, my dad is like the biggest movie star
in the world. How can I ever live up to that?
But he s trying."
Smith, 44, and Jaden first co-starred togeth-
er in 2006 s The Pursuit of Happyness. Smith
produced his son s hit 2010 remake of The
Karate Kid with Jackie Chan, which made over
$350 million worldwide. (Smith s last movie,
last summer s Men In Black 3, earned over
$600 million globally.)
Smith said he wants his family to be suc-
cessful in the entertainment industry across
generations, and has searched Hollywood his-
tory for models.
"I ve looked for a lot of years. The Barry-
mores got really close to what I see in my
head for my family," Smith said, referring to
the clan of theatre and film actors famed in
the 1930s and now represented by Drew Bar-
Smith s daughter Willow, now 12, appeared
in two movies but has focused on music. After
causing a stir with the pop smash Whip My
Hair three years ago, she s backed away from
the spotlight but continued to release songs
online. Smith s other son, 20-year-old Trey,
has taken up DJ work and posts electronic
dance songs and mixes online. Jada Pinkett
Smith is an actress, author, singer-songwriter
and businesswoman. She and Smith started
Overbrook Entertainment, which has produced
many of Smith s films, including After Earth.
Smith makes no apologies for encouraging
his children to follow their parents toward
cameras and microphones.
"I grew up in a family business. So it s like
everybody works together and that s how the
family bonds and communicates and how we
eat," he said.
"In my mind, I m a warrior and I m teaching
my son how to hunt. And how else would I
teach my son how to hunt other than bring
him with me and we re in an interview and
this is what I do and this is the business I
work in. To me, I can t imagine what the other
That said, he approaches parenting differ-
ently than his own father, a former Air Force
pilot who enforced strict discipline on Smith
and his siblings.
"The major difference is I m trying to release
the sense of ownership," Smith said.
"With our kids, Jada and I believe that it s
their lives and we are helping them with their
lives. And they re not our property. They are
people who are deserving of our respect and
consideration in the same way that any other
human being should be."
Beyond acting, Jaden learned his father s
early raps and now writes his own. While he
isn t looking to replicate the one-time Fresh
Prince s every move, it s clear he has inter-
nalised Dad s long-term outlook on the family
"If I wanted my career to be exactly like
his, then people would keep telling me for the
rest of my life, Wow, you successfully pulled
off your dad s career. Congratulations! " Jaden
"If I was doing just what he did, then my
son would feel like he had to do just what I
classical pianist if he wants to." (AP)
Fame part of business for Smiths
Will Smith, left, and his son Jaden during an event for After Earth Day at the Miami Science
Museum in Miami, Florida, earlier this month. The film opens on Friday. AP PHOTO
All in the family
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