Thursday, 22 July 2010

WILL SMITH speaks candidly about THE KARATE KID ...

WILL SMITH is one of the biggest stars in Hollywood - even president Barack Obama is a fan.
But the star of Independence Day, Men In Black and Ali admits he has just been out-gunned at the box office... by his 12-year-old son.

Jaden Smith, is the latest big-screen sensation in the talented film family.

His new movie - a remake of 80s hit The Karate Kid - has taken America by storm and seen Jaden grab the limelight.

In the States, The Karate Kid had a recordbreaking opening, which meant Jaden had outperformed most of his dad's blockbusters. Will joked: "The film's three-day box office was $56 million in the United States - bigger than any of my movies other than Hancock and I Am Legend. So I'm wondering if he still needs to even live at our house.

"But if one more person calls me The Karate Kid's dad..."

The movie, which was filmed on location in China, and sees Jaden star alongside martial arts legend, Jackie Chan, is very much a family affair.

Its producers are Jaden's proud parents - Will and his beautiful actress wife Jada Pinkett-Smith of The Matrix fame.
She says they knew from the start they had to be in China for the four-month shoot to ensure Jaden got all the back-up he needed.

Jada, 39, said: "I remember there was talk of me possibly playing Jaden's mother in the movie but I realised that he was also going to need his Mommy off camera.

"We felt we had to be there as Mommy and Daddy to make sure Jaden was taken care of.
"This was a big, big, big endeavour for him to take on. So we really wanted to support him in every way possible."

Will's smash hits have helped make him a screen superstar. He even got the endorsement of Obama, who has said that if a film were ever made of his life then Will ought to play him. But when he watches his son strut his stuff on camera he becomes as emotional as any proud parent.

Will, 41, said: "I don't choke back the emotion. I boo-hoo every time I see him.

"Seriously, he's such a fantastic, disciplined young man. He has the combination - he's hugely sensitive, so he can capture emotion, but he also has the mentality it takes to bear the weight of what success is going to bring in his life."

Will is confident that Jaden will not be a victim of child star syndrome - rising too quickly and eventually being burned out.

He said: "He didn't have the shock and the radical life change that child actors usually have coming into the business.

"With child stars, the most difficult element is that they become the breadwinner.
"They are generally broken by the pressure of being the breadwinner of a household at just 14 years old or 16 years old.

"When you put that on to a child, you almost lose your parent-child relationship. It's almost like there's a bit of your power that gets destroyed in that situation.

"I hope that we have a bit of a handle on it where we're focusing very closely and paying attention to his energy and his desire and his love for it. So I'm hoping it's OK."

Will, who also has an older son Trey and a daughter Willow, reckons it's crucial to keep his kids grounded, even though they live a privileged life in La-la-land.

He stresses that the welfare of the family is much more significant to him than any career success.

He said: "Family is more important than winning at the box office, more important than winning awards. The family has to be first and then the project second."

He admits that is a difficult target to set, especially since he has the attitude that nothing should get in the way of his performance.

Will said: "I did Ali [in which he played boxing great Muhammad Ali] with a broken thumb. It was just a case of, 'Let's just pack the glove up a little tighter.' So it's been a real struggle for me to find that balance."
Before filming The Karate Kid, Jaden - who has a shock of curly hair - studied the classic movies of Chan and showed he has his old man's work ethic by embarking on an arduous training schedule.

He said: "I did do a lot of kung fu and martial arts and everything but I had a lot of training before filming began so it was not as hard as I thought it would be.


"I thought it would be out in the snow, doing push-ups in the snow and stuff but it wasn't like that. I trained for all of it, so I could do it much better and it just came to me that I could almost have fun when I was filming."







Jaden was also very impressed by the advice and help he received from Chan.

"He was amazing," said the youngster. "He was always teaching me things, like how to stretch properly and how to focus. He was right there with me the whole time."

Acting out the film's martial arts sequences, Jaden also discovered that you couldn't fake the action. He said: "You have to hit the person.

"You do it softly but you make it look hard. You also have to learn how to block or you're going to get hit in the face."

Apart from becoming a big-screen action man, Jaden also got his first screen kiss in The Karate Kid when he shared a romantic moment with Wen Wen Han, who plays his Beijing classmate.

Wen Wen says her legs were shaking and Jaden admits he was nervous.

He said: "It was kind of odd when we first started shooting the scene and Wen Wen got nervous. So I just said, 'Relax, I'm good at kissing. So it's gonna be all right.' Finally it was all fine and we got the shot."

In China, Jaden was immersed in a whole new culture and filmed on the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square and even in the Forbidden City.

It was quite an experience but the youngster - like any kid his age - admits that he missed familiar surroundings and preferred a taste of home to Chinese food.
He said: "I had hamburgers the whole time.

Being in China was fun but nobody spoke English so it was a little bit weird. But I had a good time while I was there."

The Karate Kid is released on July 28.
Action man Chan inspired by original
Jackie Chan got a kick out of being a mentor to The Karate Kid because the original movie had inspired him.
The Shanghai Knights star said: "I remember a long time when The Karate Kid was so famous that many people learned martial arts& even myself."

Jackie's role in The Karate Kid marks a change in direction because it's not as action-packed as the performances that made him famous.

He plays a caretaker with a secret family. Jackie said: "The action star's life is very short. But in Hollywood any time I present a script they say 'No, no, no, Rush Hour 3, Rush Hour 4.'

"I say I'm not young any more and I want to do some serious things. Now this proves I can act, I want to be the Asian Robert De Niro."


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