A few snarky film critics could argue the worst thing about the upcoming Will Smith film After Earth is the name embroidered on the director’s chair.
Smith’s box office touch is mostly golden, but letting M. Night Shyamalan take the helm of his latest project is a major risk for the A-lister. Shyamalan’s directorial career went from white hot (The Sixth Sense) to sub-zero (The Lady in the Water, The Happening, The Last Airbender) in recent years.
Still, it’s the headlines around the Smith family these days which might be worrying the film’s publicity team.
The Huffington Post revisited an old feud between Smith and actress Janet Hubert, former co-stars on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, a battle in which she depicts the young star as dismissive regarding her ouster from the show.
The actor “did heinous, horrible things to me,” Hubert recalls.
This week, a news report saying Jaden Smith, the actor’s son and After Earth co-star, was seeking to be emancipated from his parents took some of the air out of a potentially sweet father-son collaboration, their first since the charming drama The Pursuit of Happyness. The Smiths appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show May 15 to say the story isn’t true, but the conversation hardly felt like a standard bond between parent and child.
[Jaden Smith] said he plans to stay at his parents’ home because it is very convenient for him.
“The thing that people don’t get is that everything at his house is free. So I can get anything and everything I want at his house. So I think I’m going to be there for 20 [to] 30 more years. [Will Smith] says as soon as I have a movie that’s bigger than one of his movies then I have to get my own house.”
“His” house? Not “our” house? And that’s the best perk of living with your parents–free stuff?
And let’s not forget Smith’s full-throttled support for President Barack Obama, something which could linger in the mind’s of movie goers as the president endures one scandal atop another.
Smith’s film career has been quiet in recent years, with his 2012 Men in Black sequel his only movie of consequence. That means a lot is riding on After Earth, and any awkward publicity surrounding the film before its May 31 opening date is likely unwelcome.