“We talked about his son Jaden’s acting career”: Will Smith Convinced M. Night Shyamalan for $243M Movie That Embarrassed Jaden Smith So Bad He Wanted to Emancipate

Will Smith Convinced M. Night Shyamalan for $243M Movie That Embarrassed Jaden Smith So Bad He Wanted to Emancipate
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Hollywood is a competitive industry, and many famous people have struggled to make it while waiting for their big break as starving actors. It turns out that having famous parents and influential connections helped many actors and actresses experience their taste for fame. Similar to how acclaimed actor, Will Smith is known for supporting his children in establishing successful careers in the film industry.  


Although the majority of his films have made millions of dollars at the box office, some have failed at the box office. Sadly, the actor and his son, Jaden Smith have acted in one of these movies.

Will Smith and his son in 'After Earth'
Will Smith and his son in ‘After Earth’

And the failure of this 2013 film, Jaden Smith, then 15 years old, reportedly asked his famous father for emancipation. 


For the unversed, Jaden Smith first rose to fame as his father’s co-star in the 2006 movie, The Pursuit of Happyness. Since then, he has worked hard to establish a reputation in the entertainment business with parts in films like Life in a Year and The Karate Kid, as well as his flourishing music career.

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Will Smith Approached M. Night Shyamalan For His Son’s Acting Career

Will Smith has a history of playing leading roles in blockbuster movies that have successful opening weekends. But after working on M. Night Shyamalan’s After Earth, his streak of success in the film business had a change of pace.


While Shyamalan had a few notable exceptions in his filmography, he was best known for his dark thrillers and surreal twists. One of them was After Earth, the sci-fi film that had a big budget and was set in the future. Smith and his 25-year-old son played father and son in the film.

Will Smith's son in After Earth
Will Smith’s son in After Earth

Shyamalan revealed to Telegraph that the inspiration for the film came from a conversation he had with Smith on his birthday. The former recalled:

“He called me for my birthday and we talked about his son Jaden’s acting career and then he said, ‘I have this idea.’ And he pitched me a 45 second version of a story that just clicked with me.”

The actor, 54, would only agree to be in the movie if Shyamalan was going to direct it. The director agreed to make it because he was so intrigued by the concept, as the Split director added:


“I loved the idea of the traditional roles flipping and the boy having to save his father, and I just said, ‘I’ll make the movie. I committed there and then. Will thought I was joking but then he said he had originally intended it as a project just for Jaden but if I directed it he would play the father.”

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How Did Jaden Smith React to After Earth’s Failure?

Will Smith
Will Smith

Will Smith revealed that Jaden Smith was the target of a lot of the criticism leveled at After Earth. He admitted that because his son served as the film’s face, it was difficult to see his son carry the bulk of the burden for M. Night Shyamalan’s movie. The Bad Boys actor wrote in his memoir, Will (via People).

“Fans and the press were absolutely vicious; they said and printed things about Jaden that I refuse to repeat. Jaden had faithfully done everything that I’d instructed him to do, and I had coached him into the worst public mauling he’d ever experienced.”

He ultimately provoked Jaden Smith’s request for emancipation as a result of his actions. Even though the father of three was aware of his son’s feelings at the time, the request still hurt him. The actor stated:


“We never discussed it, but I know he felt betrayed. He felt misled, and he lost his trust in my leadership. At fifteen years old, when Jaden asked about being an emancipated minor, my heart shattered. He ultimately decided against it, but it sucks to feel like you’ve hurt your kids.”

Will Smith's son in After Earth
Will Smith’s son in After Earth

The 2013 movie received negative reviews from critics who criticized the plot, the visuals, the acting of Will and Jaden Smith, along with Shyamalan’s directing. In contrast to its $130 million budget, it earned $243.8 million at the box office.

After Earth is available for streaming on Hulu or Netflix. 

Read More: “I wasn’t with the person I was supposed to be with”: Will Smith Started Crying After Realising Jada Pinkett Smith Was the Love of His Life


Source – The Telegraph


Written by Siddhika Prajapati

Articles Published: 1395

Between everyday normalities and supernatural abnormalities, Siddhika Prajapati finds the story in everything. Literature Honors Graduate and Post-Graduated in Journalism (from Delhi University), her undying need to deduce the extraordinary out of simplicity makes her a vibrant storyteller.

Serving as a Senior Entertainment Writer at Fandom Wire and having written over 1300 pieces, Siddhika has also worked with multiple clients and projects over the years, including Indian Express, India Today, and Outlook Group.

Who knows, maybe your next favorite persona on the screen will be crafted by her.