Will Smith talks about After Earth – and about hopes for his acting family

Will Smith wants his acting family to be bigger than the Barrymores. The 44-year-old star says he hopes to echo the success of that famed multi-generational clan of theatre and film actors – Drew Barrymore's relatives who were at the height of their fame more than 50 years ago.

"I've looked for a lot of years. The Barrymores got really close to what I see in my head for my family," Smith said in the interview above, promoting his new sci-fi movie After Earth.

Smith took the unprecedented step of playing a supporting role in his latest project – so that 14-year-old son Jaden could have the lead.

Set 1,000 years in the future, Smith plays a military leader who crash lands on an abandoned Earth with his son. He says it's all part of the "family business”.

"I grew up in a family business. So it's like everybody works together and that's how the family bonds and communicates and how we eat. In my mind, I'm a warrior and I'm teaching my son how to hunt," Smith said.

Smith's oldest son Trey appeared in one of his music videos, his wife Jada Pinkett Smith is an actress and producer and both Jaden and daughter Willow act and perform music.

But Smith admits there are risks to having a showbiz-focused family. He thinks of fame as a drug.

"The major risk of this particular business is strictly emotional. The idea that the business has almost a narcotic quality. So it's almost as if you're introducing a narcotic into your kid's life," Smith said.

"So for Jada and I the most important thing is that they have to stay focused and grounded on the fact that they are giving. You don't make movies for your ego.

“You make movies to transfer information, to bring joy, to add value to the world."

That doesn't mean Will is letting Jaden off easy when it comes to promoting their new film together. When the teen dropped a water bottle loudly during an interview, dad teased mercilessly.

"You're kidding me, right? You're kidding me," Will Smith told his apologising son. "That's the most unprofessional thing I've seen you do."

Jaden turned it around quickly: "Or is it the most professional thing you've ever seen me do?"

The elder Smith laughed: "That's the Jedi mind trick. You're not going to get me, boy."

  • After Earth is released in the UK on June 7.

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