Will Smith is finally coming clean about one of his more notable Hollywood mistakes. While chatting with Esquire, Smith revealed that his widely-panned 2013 film, After Earth, wasn’t what he had planned when bringing son, Jaden, onboard.
“Wild Wild West was less painful than After Earth because my son was involved in After Earth and I led him into it. That was so excruciating.”
After Earth was one of the only black marks on Smith’s prestigious acting career. His action films became the hot attraction during the summer movie season. He ran off a series of hits which included Independence Day, Men In Black, and Bad Boys, and despite some box office bombs (After Earth, Wild Wild West) Smith became one of Hollywood’s most recognizable action stars.
While Smith is known mostly for his action adventure roles, he has been featured in numerous dramatic projects. Some of those including Pursuit Of Happiness and Ali, both of which landed Smith Academy Award nominations.
Following in the footsteps of his father, Jaden Smith has carved out quite a career for himself. He landed the supporting role opposite his father in Pursuit of Happiness, and followed that up with The Day The Earth Stood Still (2008), The Karate Kid (2010) and the aforementioned After Earth.
While both Will and Jaden have been given plenty of time to recover from their After Earth failure, the sting of that film remains in the elder Smith’s mind.
The film was only able to gross $60.5 million domestically, while being produced on a $130 million budget. The unimpressive showing couldn’t have come at a worse time for Smith, who revealed that his father was diagnosed with cancer shortly after the film’s unsuccessful opening.
The experience opened up Smith’s eyes, and his views on film changed, as he stated to The Daily Beast.
“A thing got broken in my mind. It’s been an absolute necessity that the move be a blockbuster, but I think I’m going to start moving out of that and finding more danger in my artistic choices.”
Smith will indeed be taking more risks, as his next two films, the con-artist focused film Focus, and the football drama, Concussion, are not the typical Smith action features. However, that doesn’t mean he will abandon that genre entirely.
Smith has been rumored for numerous action roles over the next few years. One film he has been confirmed to star is the live action adaptation of DC Comics’ The Suicide Squad, in which he portrays Deadhsot. The film will reunite Smith with Focus co-star Margot Robbie, and is slated to premiere in 2016.
Meanwhile, son Jaden is hard at work on expanding his acting resume. He has been linked to both the Karate Kid sequel and the drama, The Good Lord Bird.
Every actor is entitled to his set of failures. Luckily for the movie watching community Will Smith has made very few of those in his career. Jaden has shown promise, and can become a potential Hollywood star. We’ll just have to give the Smith’s a mulligan on After Earth.