Will Smith on how his movie helped him cope with his father dying

The film Collateral Beauty comes next Friday. I have yet to read a review on it so I have no idea if it’s any good but the cast is stellar. We’ve discussed that the film is about Will Smith’s character suffering a loss so great that his life falls apart. To process his grief, he writes letters to Time, Love and Death who all, presumably, come to see him during the film. I hate to cry so I won’t see a tearjerker unless it is really well praised. In the interviews so far they say the film is great but they’re talking to a star of the movie so what else are they going to say? But they also say that, as sad as the subject is, you walk away from the movie feeling good and like it’s perfect for this time of year. Whether or not it fills you with the holiday spirit, it provided Will with a coping mechanism as his father died from cancer. Will got the script just when his father was diagnosed. On Ellen DeGeneres’ show, Will discussed how doing research on grief and actualizing that on film helped him deal with losing his father.

Will Smith experienced the phenomenon firsthand when he was cast in Collateral Beauty, a film about a father who is devastated by his young daughter’s death. Behind the scenes, the blockbuster star was coping with the loss of his own father, who passed away after a short battle with cancer.

“You’re playing a guy that’s experienced a loss and your dad—you just lost your dad,” Ellen DeGeneres broached the topic with the actor on her daytime talk show Thursday.

“Yeah. What was really interesting is I got the screenplay right when my father was diagnosed. You know, so I have the screenplay and I’m doing all of this research about a guy who experiences death you know at the time my father was given six weeks,” Smith recalled.

“My father and I were sharing it during that time so, you know, the performance for me, and the movie for me, and the ideas are so deeply personal,” he continued.

While the loss of a parent can be a tragic time, the star reflected on the month leading up to his death with fondness.

“My father, he actually he lived for four months beyond that point they gave him six weeks and what happened is everyday became so beautiful beyond the six weeks. You know, and then we were sitting one day and it was at about three months and he was like, ‘Man this crap is embarrassing.’ I said,’What dad?’ He said, ‘Man, you tell everyone you’re going to die in six weeks and three months later…'”

[From E! Online]

You can watch the clip here. I agree with CB about Will being engaging. I have yet to see an interview of his I don’t enjoy. He told Ellen that his father passed only a month ago and yet, at no point during the segment did I feel anything but uplifted by Will’s experience. He was able to covey the beauty in being allowed to process that time by being fully present in body and mind.

Dammit, I’m going to see this movie, aren’t I?

My favorite part of the interview is the last bit about his father lamenting outliving his prognosis. That’s exactly what my father would say. I guess we see where Will gets his humor. Speaking of Will’s humor, he and Ellen get into an argument over whether he has a lion in his backyard. It’s funny both because it’s Will but also because he is convinced he has an African lion living outside his bedroom and then defends the cost of lion urine. Seriously, I could watch a feature length Will Smith interview and be wildly entertained. Maybe even more than some of his movies.

Here is Will filming his new movie, the reason for his ‘stache



Photo credit:Fame/Flynet Photos and Getty Images

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9 Responses to “Will Smith on how his movie helped him cope with his father dying”

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  1. Cynthia says:

    I love Will and his family regardless of what anyone says. The same thing happens when I listen to Jada’s interviews, not soundbites but full length interview. She ends up dropping truth bombs all through out the interview, I come away saying this woman know who she is and what she is talking about.

  2. Hummos says:

    God he’s hot

  3. KC says:

    I have seen this twice already and I’m not one for crying at the theater, but dammit if this didn’t get the job done! This is an especially moving film for anyone that has lost a loved one. Helen Mirren was my favorite in this ❤️

  4. Lucy says:

    Look at baby Jaden!!!

  5. perplexed says:

    That’s a cute picture of Jaden.

  6. Leigh_S says:

    I don’t know why, but Will Smith can break my heart like almost no other.

    Sidenote: I feel like I’m living this a bit right now. I lost my incredibly beloved older dog unexpectedly this past Sunday. He passed in my arms as I held and whispered to him.

    My other dog is a cocker and the embodiment of joy and life. At moments, he’s the only thing that keeps me from shattering completely.

    • JustCrimmles says:

      🙁 Hugs to you (and your doggies.) Sorry about your pup. It’s so unfair that such purely good creatures have comparatively fleeting time with us. Extra snuggles to your boy, too 💜

  7. Pansy says:

    As strange as his kids have seemingly turned out, as much as I want to side eye him for his supposed support of Scientology and his rumored open marriage (I know some people think that’s ok, but I’m not one of them. The kids!!!), I cannot dislike this man. He’s positive, funny, gorgeous, and seems so uplifting.

  8. Cel2495 says:

    I like him and can’t wait to see the movie… I’m sure will be a hot mess. I loss my dear cousin years ago ( she was murdered) and I still think of her and miss her. Sometimes I sit in the dark and think of all the moments we shared, the laughs we had and the fun we had. I don’t think you ever get over the loss of a loved one, it feels that grieving is endless.