In “After Earth,” Will and Jaden Smith play a space-age father and son who crash land on our planet, which was abandoned years ago and is now inhabited by wild beasts. Can the young boy survive out there alone, after his dad is injured? A month back, we sat down with Will and Jaden to talk about the film, which you may have read in our Earth Day edition. Here are unseen excerpts from that freewheeling back-and-forth.
Will, you have a story credit on this film. It came from you?
WS: It started off as a father and son story.
JS: It started on Earth originally.
WS: Yeah, it was—
JS: OK, here’s what I remember: On “Karate Kid,” as I’m leaving to walk out the door, he’s writing all night, he’s got a beard, he’s looking out the window, not even at me, and he goes, “Jaden, is the world ‘Ursa’ scary?” And I was like, “Dad, I’m trying to learn Chinese, I don’t have time.” And he starts writing and goes, “Yeah, that’s scary.”
WS: Ursa is bear.
JS: He was like, you need a movie where you’re by yourself and you have to survive in the snow and a pack of wolves come and you have to kill all the wolves and I was like, “Yeah? I don’t want to do that.” Somehow we got from there to here.
WS: I wanted to work with the Karate Kid! And I was experimenting with the time juxtaposition of story. Hamlet in 322 B.C. Or the power of a story to go through time. If you put Job in 2016, what’s that look like? Do the relationships and emotions still survive in the center? At the center, it’s a very powerful father and son drama wrapped in the summer sci-fi blockbuster packaging.
Jaden, on top of the movie, you have your own clothing line, MSFtS. When did you start dressing yourself?
JS: That probably happened around 10 or 11. I used to wear my pants really high, up to my belly button, and my mom would be like, “You can sag your pants a little bit.” So one day, I started wearing my pants to my knees. Then I found a happy medium.
JS: Well, now it’s drop crotch. [shows off his MSFtS pants] I don’t need to sag them down.
Could you pull those off Will?
WS: Those days are behind us.
JS: You used to wear pants like this.
WS: Those were the Hammer pants.
JS: [Sighs] No, they’re not. Don’t keep saying that! You can’t keep saying that.
WS: No, they’re nothing like Hammer pants. My bad.
Jaden, you’re also active on Twitter. And Will?
JS: He doesn’t have one. He likes Facebook.
WS: I got 44 million people on Facebook. I’m just saying. I don’t know how many people you got.
JS: I knew you were going to say that.
WS: I’m just saying, I don’t know how many people you got. How many people?
JS: 4 million.
WS: 4 million. Yeah. I got that after my first number. [Laughs]
JS: I feel like people on Facebook will just randomly follow just anybody.
WS: [Laughs hysterically]
JS: The really killer one is Tumblr.
WS: Yeah, I mean, I could be on Tumblr if I wanted to. I’m choosing not to. [To the room] Somebody find out what Tumblr is.