When I was first presented with the opportunity to act alongside my father in our latest movie After Earth, I couldn’t have been more excited. It seemed like a surefire hit at the time—I mean, wouldn’t the movie-going public just be over the moon to once again see Will and Jaden Smith on the silver screen playing father and son?
But now that I actually take a step back and really think about it, I’m starting to wonder if maybe—and I could very well be overthinking this, so bear with me here—the gimmick of my dad and I starring in the same film is actually more obnoxious than appealing. And maybe not just obnoxious, but super obnoxious. Downright repellent, actually. In fact, I’m starting to think that instead of seeing the movie posters and trailers for After Earth and thinking, “Oh, what a cool idea, Will Smith and his son are acting together,” people are actually rolling their eyes and saying, “Give me a fucking break.”
Now, I know that’s kind of a strange concept given the success both my father and I have had in Hollywood over the last decade. When I first started my career as a professional actor at the age of 8, I think people actually enjoyed seeing me work alongside my dad in The Pursuit Of Happyness. I guess it was kind of endearing in a way because I came off as sort of naïve and, to be truthful, I probably surprised people with my acting ability.
But I can’t help but think that maybe, somewhere along the line, when my wealthy, A-list celebrity parents began developing projects solely as vehicles to build my career and make the Smith family hundreds of millions of dollars richer than it already was, the concept of my father using his clout to shoehorn me into co-starring film roles might possibly have started rubbing people the wrong way. I can certainly see, for instance, how my dad contriving a $130-million Hollywood science-fiction film in an attempt to promote me to his level of fame and fortune could maybe come across as a tad self-serving.
In fact, maybe—just maybe—people might view the movie as less of a great film starring an actor they love and his lovable son, and more of a soulless vanity project. Or go so far as to say such blatant nepotism and hunger for fame is the biggest problem in Hollywood today, and in the United States of America as a whole.
It’s possible, is all I’m saying.
Let’s just say, for argument’s sake, that I was an average, everyday American consumer. Would I enjoy seeing an incredibly rich and famous man use his money and power to make his children incredibly rich and famous? Would I enjoy seeing the face of a young teenager plastered on movie posters across the entire nation, not because of who he is, but because of who his father is? To be totally honest, I’m not so sure I would. In fact, it’s conceivable that I might find it unbelievably infuriating and downright unbearable.
Then again, though, when I take a step back and really think about it, I guess there are maybe one or two things that my family does that could put off the general public. Like my parents completely manufacturing a singing career for my younger sister Willow, for example. Or my musical collaboration with Justin Bieber to promote my last film, The Karate Kid. In fact, one might say that my entire friendship with Justin Bieber, and the image of two very rich, very entitled teenagers hanging out until six in the morning may in fact hurt my overall image, as opposed to enhancing it. Does that make sense?
Come to think of it, I suppose it is entirely possible that there are a few moviegoers out there right now who are saying something along the lines of, “Actually, this whole movie seems really cold, calculated, and designed purely to raise the media profile of the film’s millionaire movie star and his young, precociously famous son. And, because of these things, I do not want to see After Earth at all. I’d much rather go see that dumb magician movie this weekend instead.”
Hell, one could even conceivably argue that my parents are doing me a huge disservice by giving me a career that I didn’t necessarily earn myself, creating a wave of ill will toward me that will be more or less impossible to shed for the rest of my life. And, as it were, maybe raising me and my sister in the glamorous, vapid cocoon of Hollywood and setting absolutely no boundaries whatsoever for us and allowing us to pretty much do and have whatever we want is not, in fact, a good way to raise children. You know, at this point, I wouldn’t fault someone for thinking that my father and mother have utterly lost their grip on reality and what it means to be a normal human being in today’s world.
But hey, at the end of the day, I’m rich, I’m famous, I’ll soon be getting my own house, and my newest movie will probably make millions of dollars at the box office this weekend. So who gives a fuck what you people think?