After Earth Press Conference

Earlier this week we put up our interview with Director M. Night Shyamalan who talked in detail about his new movie After Earth which hits UK cinemas tomorrow 7th June.  The film sees real-life father and son Will and Jaden Smith playing their on-screen counterparts Cypher Raige and Kitai Raige in a futuristic tale about what could happen to Earth if it’s not looked after properly. We got to find out more about this side of things at the press conference held at the Summer of Sony event in Cancun earlier in the year.

On working with snakes and crocodiles!

M. Night Shyamalan, Will Smith and Jaden Smith were all in attendance and spoke at length about the movie, what we can expect from it on a wider scale and told some great stories about filming. One of my favourites was when Jaden Smith arrived on set and his father and M. Night were talking about doing a scene where he has to climb a tree. They were shooting on location in Costa Rica where they have some rather poisonous snakes and had snake wranglers on set whose job it was to keep the cast and crew safe from any slithering nasties!

The scene was about to roll, all the cameras are set up and then a wrangler comes to Will Smith (who also Produced the movie) to let him know there are a few snakes in the tree they’re about to climb…. I’ll let Will, Jaden and M. Night take it from here but it’s a very fun story which also features a cameo from some Crocodiles! Here’s Will on the snake wrangler then Jaden’s reaction! Watch the video below for the full experience!

Will Smith: “We were in Costa Rica and there are these snakes called fer-de-lances, and a fer-de-lance I think is the second most poisonous snake on Earth.

They [The snake wranglers] would just walk around all the time, and you’d be talking and they’d go (THUMP).  So there was a scene, and the snake wrangler came over and he said, “You know the tree that Jaden’s about to do the shot in,” He said, “You know, we got about, uh, a few snakes.”  I said, “Well, like, two?”  He said, “We got probably…Maybe five today” and he said, “You know, there’s other trees,” so I was like, “Oo, wow,” but Jaden comes on the set and he walks up, and I was like, “Well, let’s just roll, we’re here.”  I said, “Jaden, quick, just get up, just get the scene!”  There were certain moments that were difficult, difficult parenting moments and decisions.  But you had the rubber suit on, you never felt in danger did you?”

Jaden:  “I didn’t know what the snake wranglers did.”!

Will Smith and Jaden Smith on working as a real-life father and son combination

The press conference opened with a question comparing the life of Jaden and Will to that of the characters they play on-screen. Will was extremely excited to be there as you can tell by the woops that he delivers as he enters the room and it was fabulous to see him in such good spirits. Will talks about how things have moved on since working with Jaden in The Pursuit of Happyness seven years ago and Jaden talks about how a lot of the movie is similar to their real lifes as well as almost giving away the ending of the movie.

Will Smith on the environment

Will spoke very openly about how Jaden has opened his eyes to more of the environmental side of things in the next part of the press conference talking about how environmental issues will come up on a day to day basis in their own home. He speaks about how taking a movie ‘organism’ in the form of a film crew into a living ‘organism’ ni the form of a forest like we see in After Earth can have negative effects and how this needs to be addressed and improved going forward.

M. Night Shyamalan and Will Smith on collaborating together

Director M. Night Shyamalan has worked with many bigs stars before but in After Earth, he has powerhouse actor and Producer Will Smith by his side. In this section of the press conference we get to hear how exactly that collaboration worked and it would appear that from both Will and Night they learnt a lot.

Will speaks about Night:

“I think it was a fantastic collaboration.  You know, not without its testy moments.  I’m just saying I was like,”Boy, if Night talk about the poetry of the shot one more time!”  But it was really a fantastic give-and-take.”

And on the flipside Night gives us a great example of how Will get’s into his head and how when writing new material, he can only see Will Smith:

There’s always like a graph like, “Right, plot this way, and then the experience this way,” and you want to have both.  You can’t have this because then you just have that. You know what I mean?  You want to have both, and the balance of us each checking each other for the best reasons.  I just started writing another one, and he’s in my frickin’ head!  He’s literally there and I can hear him.  And that’s what happens, every one of your partners becomes a part of you and you take that with you.  But it was a really great experience.


 After Earth hits UK cinemas this Friday 7th June.