By Amy Reyes
"Estoy muy contento estar aqui en Miami,” exclaimed Will Smith as he walked into a conference room at the Mandarin Oriental filled with Spanish-language media outlets. With his Sonny Crockett-esque white jacket, light blue polo shirt,pair of jeans and his contagious vivacity, The Fresh Prince took a round of questions after a partial screening of his upcoming movie Hancock, about a superhero with more vices than virtues. A translator helped him out, but Smith dropped some Spanish occasionally.
Is Will Smith a hero or an antihero?
That’s very interesting. I think the light side of Will Smith is a hero. But there is a really sneaky dark side that loved being able to say whatever I wanted and be mean to kids.
How does it feel to be an alcoholic superhero?
It was so much fun because it’s a part of myself I don’t allow to live since I’m in the public eye, smiling, being nice to people. Somebody says something rude and I just smile and laugh. It helped me find an old comedic place that used to be really natural for me, and it really took some time to free the boundary to be able to say anything to be able to do anything. I look back at like the Fresh Prince of Bel Aire and I’m like "That guy would say anything or do anything." As I’ve grown to become more successful and realizing some of my dreams I’ve sort of confined myself comedically.
Was it your idea to make Hancock a Miami native because of your great affinity with our city?
Miami is one of my favorite cities, if not the favorite city in the world. I just love it here. My skin starts to get clear, I get strong and I get that little sexy tan.
Hancock hated the word "as****e", what is a word that you dislike?
It’s funny because words don’t really bother me in that way. It’s more like, I don’t like when people treat other people poorly. That’s the thing that really gets me. When somebody strong is going to pick on somebody that is weaker than them.
Why couldn’t you find a liquor sponsor for the movie?
That was funny, I couldn’t figure out why. Any time you couldn’t get a liquor company to sponsor you. They just knew that Hancock was going to be an as****e. So people didn’t want to associate their product (with Hancock).
Do you consider Hancock like the dark side of the "Great American Hero".
We looked at that and we were trying to separate it from all of those other things. We wanted to create our own genre and have Hancock stand out from every other super hero. That’s the first time anyone has said that, we thought that it was a secret.
How do you think a superhero should dress, since you weren’t happy with the Hancock’s outfit?
The tight suit was something … I did a lot of butt lifts (gets up and demonstrates) so I could have my bottom really tight in the suit. (He made the translator do the movement as well).
And the front?
The front we kept all natural.
When you were flying naked was that your real butt or was that a fake butt?
No, I don’t do the fake butt. We can’t do the fake butt.
Would you have recommended that Hancock get in touch with his sensuality?
You know what, since you guys only saw the first half of the movie part of the pain that created Hancock was the loss of that sensuality. There was a loss that gets revealed at the end of the movie.
You do so much for people and to help the community, how big is your heart?
There’s an idea that my brother and I were talking about a few months ago. When you create, where are you creating from? What do you see as the outcome of your creation? For me I’m always creating from … I’m sitting in the audience with the fans, when I’m reading the script I’m imagining that I’m sitting in the audience on Friday night and do people want to see that? For me the idea is how is what I’m creating going to affect people’s lives. Whereas my experience has been that a lot of times artist create for themselves. My choice has always been to create for people.
You always play heroes like Muhammad Ali. Why did you choose to play a superhero that nobody likes?
For me the fun and the interesting part of this character is I’ve looked at Hancock like the high school football player who has all this talent but won’t use it to achieve the things he says he dreams about.
You’ve been a hero in several movies, what do you do to be a hero in real life?
The book that I use as my creative bible is "The Hero with A thousands Faces" by Joseph Campbell. The idea in (the book) is that we are all the heroes of our story and every day we’re writing our story. And we’re either going to write a really great page today or write a page that is crap.
Who do you support for the race to the White House?
I support Obama. I am amazed every single day at how he is able to capture the hearts and minds of people around the world. And there is an idea of America is supposed to be, what America has been in the past and what America will be again. It makes me get teary just thinking about what he stands for and to see if in our generation we will be able to take that promise and turn it into practice.
A lot of actors have gotten very involved in politics. Would you be interested in being president?
No, that’s not a great job. I like movie star.
Would you say Barack Obama is your hero?
He still has to write the end of his story. He’s writing his story right now. It’s very interesting, I love reading it, I hope to be a part of it. But it’s not finished yet.
What was it like working with Jason Bateman and Charlize Theron?
It’s a great experience in how Pete Byrd likes to shoot. The way he shoots, he never cuts and he says "action" and he starts rolling and he’s talking the entire tape. He says "Jason, try this", "Ok, Jason you say this", "Will, do that" and the way that he does it, he captures great improv and really wonderful moments.
Aside from Hancock, who would you like to be if you could be a superhero?
I was on Jay Leno the other night and I was talking about a superhero I like, Ultraman. He didn’t know who Ultraman was.