Will, Jaden Smith keep acting all in the family

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Will, Jaden Smith keep acting all in the family


Like father, like son, Jaden Smith impresses reporters at a press conference with his father, Will Smith, on Tuesday. Provided by All That Cinema

Slowly but surely, the actor best-loved and remembered for being “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” has been making a steady transition over the years.

Some time after the comedy-action blockbusters “Independence Day” and “Men in Black,” Will Smith began taking on the tender role of a father, in real life.

It all began with the song, “Just the Two of Us,” in 1998. Singing about the bond between father and son, Big Willie dedicated the song to his son, Trey.

The song did well on the charts and even featured his firstborn in the video, but most importantly the single proved that the comedian could be serious when it came to parenting.

With three kids and a wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith, 44, seems to be at the top of his game, although his game these days is full of family members.

Visiting Korea for the third time to promote his latest film, “After Earth,” on Tuesday, Will Smith brought his co-star and son, Jaden Smith.

Together the pair had reporters in stitches as they answered questions in a very Smith way, proving that sometimes mixing business with family works.

To sum up, the M. Night Shyamalan science-fiction film set in the year 3072, Smith said that all effects and adventure aside, “it’s a beautiful father and son story.”

The plot revolves around a father and son, or a general and a cadet, who are stranded on Earth ? which has become inhabitable and hostile to humans.


The two Smiths play father and son in the upcoming sci-fi action film, “After Earth.” Provided by Sony Pictures

With the father injured, it is up to the son to trek through the wild and rescue the pair.

Despite the intensity of the film, the younger Smith said the film was a lot of fun because “dad was awesome because he’s like a walking dictionary,” or “a big, black Yoda.”

The teenage actor who rose to prominence acting alongside his dad in “Pursuit of Happiness” in 2006 said that a lot had changed since then.

“Pursuit of Happiness was more of a learning thing along the way, now it’s more of a collaboration between both of us.”

With Will Smith nodding in agreement, the 14-year-old Smith also tackled a question that everyone was hinting at: “Is Will Smith as strict a father as the onscreen dad he portrays?”

“It’s just really acting. Normally he’s just how he is right now,” said Jaden Smith, adding that his dad was “cool, nice and forgiving.”

But on that note, Will Smith insisted that there was a philosophy behind his laissez-faire approach to bringing up kids.

“As a parent, Jada and I demand that they make their own decisions and that they take responsibility for their lives.”

And although he thought his son was “level-headed, respectful and very disciplined,” the father did say that there comes a point when you do have to let go of your kids, “and you hope that the lessons you instilled in them will blossom and flower in the proper moment.

“So that concept in the film is something similar to what we’re dealing with in real life,” said the entertainer who’s clearly taken a shine to fatherhood.

The two Smiths agreed that for them, working with family was something that bonded them, “and it just so happens that our family business is movies.”

Meanwhile for Jaden Smith, because he devoted nearly a year into getting in shape: putting on 20 pounds, growing four inches, undertaking training of all sorts.

“It captured my growth spurt on camera, which was the best part of the movie for me.”

On future collaborations, Will Smith joked that he would think about it if the movie was a hit. “If not, I’m never working with this kid again.”

With their family ties intact, the Smiths also professed a love of another clan on the Korean peninsula.

“We had a fantastic night last night. We went over to YG Entertainment and met G-Dragon and Yang Hyun-suk,” Will Smith said before adding that if the film does extremely well in Korea that the two would return and the father would make a record with Psy, while the son would work with G-Dragon.

“Or one big record, our family and the YG Family,” Smith promised and asked all to “do not disappoint” when the film debuts in Korea May 30.

By Carla Sunwoo [carlasunwoo@joongang.co.kr]

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