Will Smith and his son Jaden Smith were at the New York premiere ofF their film After Earth and they were joined by the entire Smith Clan. Said clan included wife/mother Jada Pinkett Smith, daughter/sister Willow Smith and Trey Smith, Will’s 20-year-old son from a previous relationship. But prior to the red carpet event, the two talked to MTV about the film and father, son issues.
“After Earth” centers on a father and son in space who are traveling to a planet so that they can bond. It seems like the two characters that they play in the film, don’t get on as well as the father son acting duo who play them.
The two of them crash-land on Earth. A planet that is devoid of human life and considered too dangerous to even visit. When the father gets injured, Jaden’s character must step up to the challenge and fight to get them off the planet. A planet which, through its human abandonment, has evolved into an environment that is deadly to people.
The film is the latest offering from the Signs and Sixth Sense director M. Night Shyamalan. The director is aiming to get back his top notch reputation after a string of flops like The Last Airbender and The Happening.
Unfortunately, critics have been just as harsh on the pre-viewings of After Earth. Critics, like elephants, have long memories and they haven’t yet forgiven Shyanalan for his past string of cinematic duds.
But according to Will Smith and Jaden Smith, who talked to MTV about the film, it isn’t really about the science fiction or space travel. The film according to them is about father, son issues that could take place anywhere.
Will says that at the film’s core, the film is about a father struggling to let his son grow up into his own man. He explained that if you took away the space setting and the science fiction theme it really is a human interest story. Specifically about his son Jaden’s character who wants to become his own person and not just a extension of his father.
Both Jaden and Will understand how the character feels, after the Tokyo rumour that had Jaden wanting his freedom via emancipation. A rumour that both have laughingly denied.
Talking to MTV Will said, “What I love about [‘After Earth’] is that we can take all of that candy, all of that summer blockbuster epic stuff, and really put a stage play at the center of it. These two characters, they have a lot of similar issues going on that Jaden and I deal with. It’s a great opportunity to talk about father-son issues in terms of character, but really deal with Will and Jaden.”
Smith senior went on to reveal that the original story of the film had not even been set in space! It was to have been set in the wilds of Alaska. It was only after several re-writes that the location of the film was changed to the future and placed in outer space.
But as both Will Smith and Jaden Smith pointed out, the film is just the simple premise of a father and a son dealing with their own issues, regardless of where they might be. Will Smith said that he knew just the two of them working so closely together had an affect on their relationship. Jokingly he said, “If the movie is successful, it’ll definitely bring us closer. If not, I’m not going to want to see this kid [for a long time].” It is obvious that the family sense of humour is what keeps the two of them so close.
By Michael Smith