Will Smith - He Is Legend

Smith and Akiva Goldsman talk to tf.com

Total Film gets an audience with Will Smith - and guess what? He's pretty funny...

You strike us as a man you likes an audience…
Will: Oh, I’ll strike you alright! You want me to strike you?
Akiva Goldsman: Will, no, no…
Will: No, he just said he wants me to strike him.
Akiva: It’s an expression, in England.
Will: Yes, I want to strike him.
Akiva: Strike him later.

You strike us as a man who…
Will: See?! See?!

We’re GUESSING you’re a man who likes an audience, so the thought of being the last man on earth must be your worst nightmare.
Will: Very few moments in my life have I been alone. So this exploration was really interesting: staying in apartment by myself, I realised how much I neglect my feminine side.
Akiva: No, no…
Will: No, we’re being honest about what I learned on the movie. I neglect my feminine side.
Akiva: No, no, we’re at a junket. We’re not being honest.
Will: [Laughs]. But yes, I got inside with another side of myself. It was actually pressure this time. It just being me on the camera for the first hour of this film, I think I took it as, if this film were rejected, that people were actually rejecting me! You know?

How do you control this man?
Akiva: Well, Will told me this story about working with Robert Redford. When Will comes on set, he comes running in with everyone else chasing him. Literally singing and laughing. Robert Redford pulled him over one day and said, “You know, when you come on set, you bring a lot of noise.”
Will: HA HA HA HA!
Akiva: But even when he’s doing the most heartbreaking scene, he can switch off ‘that’ and jump right into character. When he’s done with the scene, he’ll flip the switch again. Which makes doing the movie really fun. Especially if it’s a tough one.

How do you write a script for just one person?
Akiva: Well, I wrote a tremendous amount of dialogue for the dog. And then it turned out that dogs don’t talk.
Will: I can’t believe that bitch wouldn’t play along, man.
Akiva: I have no idea what I was going to talk about…
Will: Akiva would actually mime the scenes, so we could see how the scene would work with no words. We would do that for every scene so find the pace and feeling.
Akiva: Why couldn’t I be in the movie then? I could have been in the movie.
Will: But it’s not WE Are Legend. It’s I Am Legend.
Akiva: But it’s our film.
Will: It’s from a book.
Akiva: Sorta.
Will: Can we talk about it later?
Akiva: Sure. Whatever.

This is about the fifth time you’ve saved the world. Why do you keep getting these roles?
Will: It’s funny that people think I save the world in this movie. Everybody’s dead! Robert Neville failed miserably! As far as my attraction to that, Star Wars just really spun me out as a child. I couldn’t believe that someone created that. Where does that come from? So I love sci-fi movies. I’ve been chasing Star Wars my entire career.

You’ve beefed up for this movie, but you’re getting older now, there’s a bit of grey in your hair. Do you long to grow a belly and take it easy?
Will: The grey? That was a choice. It’s not real grey. I have a company that comes in and does the grey… You know, I feel like everything in your life begins with physical conditioning. I love eating sweets but I feel that the quality of my parenting, my relationship with my wife, all of the interactions that I have in my life start with being in great physical conditioning.

Who do you consider a legend?
Will: I’m very partial to Muhammad Ali and Nelson Mandela.
Akiva: Will.

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