Tag Archives: Jada Pinkett Smith

Jada Pinkett Smith Not Worried About Impact of Stardom on Her Kids

Jada Pinkett Smith

Jada Pinkett Smith isn’t worried about the impact movie stardom is having on her 11-year-old son Jaden, now that he’s the title star of “The Karate Kid,” opening tomorrow (6/11).  Fame, she notes, “has always been a part of his life.  For him, it’s not anything different.  Yes, the focus and attention is on him now, but he’s just like, ‘Okay.’  He’s a very mellow, introverted cat who takes everything in stride.”

Daughter Willow, on the other hand, “is explosive.  She’s all energy.  She’s like her father in that way – very, very extroverted.  They’re both kind of layered with both of our personalities,” she says of herself and husband Will.  “My son is more like me in how he deals with fame, but he’s very much driving with his career, like his father.  Our daughter I would say deals with the public like Will does, but her creative sensibilities are very much like mine, very unconventional.”

The nine-year-old – who has a music project of her own coming out in late summer – latched on to China in a big way when the Smith family was in that land for three months last year while Jaden was shooting “Karate Kid” with Jackie Chan.

“I didn’t expect my daughter wanting to learn Mandarin.  She has continued to learn the language here.  When we go back to China for the premiere there, she asked if her Mandarin teacher could come along, to help her keep up with her new language skills.  We said ‘Absolutely.’  She has so much love for the culture.  That was surprising.”

The Smiths have the Tony Awards to attend Sunday (6/13) – they, along with Beyonce and Jay-Z – are producers on the musical “Fela!” that’s up for 11 awards.  The next day, they head for China and the film’s premiere there.  After that, they’ll be traveling to other points ‘round the globe to help launch the movie.  Jada’s TNT “Hawthorne” series gets its second season premiere June 22.

Jada posed nude for the cover of Essence that’s just coming out.  What does Will think about that?  “Oh, he loves that stuff.  He loved the photos,” she says.

Sigourney Weaver’s Emotional ‘Prayers’ Journey Continues

Sigourney Weaver in

Sigourney Weaver’s Emmy nomination for Lifetime’s “Prayers for Bobby” underscores the huge and lasting emotional impact the movie has had upon the esteemed actress.

Sigourney plays real-life gay rights activist Mary Griffith, a deeply religious woman who tried to turn her son away from homosexuality — but in the face of rejection and despair, he committed suicide.  Thus began her turn-around.  Sigourney reports that since the movie aired earlier this year, “I’ve had a number of parents come up to me on the street — or sisters, brothers, or others — and say ‘Thank-you for this story.  My daughter is gay, or my sister is gay…’

“That’s meant so much to me.  They acknowledged what we were doing in the hope it would open some eyes.  And then I read in the paper last week that the poll numbers haven’t changed about Proposition 8,” she adds, referring to California’s anti-gay marriage initiative.   Not that she would have expected the film to cause a complete shift in public opinion, Weaver says disappointedly, but she did think that collectively, all the productions, profiles and protests since the vote would have had an impact.

“I’m still amazed it got on the ballot,” she admits.  “It seems so unconstitutional, to have a referendum on whether your neighbor should have the same rights as you.”

Meanwhile, producer Stan Brooks is looking into foreign release for the movie.  “After all, we’re not the only country that has these issues.  I’ve been asked ‘When is it going to be shown in Ireland?’ ‘When is it going to be shown in India?’  I hope Lifetime keeps showing it and at some point distributes it around the world,” she says.

As for whether she’s had any flak for playing the role: “I don’t think so.  Of course I don’t go looking for trouble.  I don’t go hunting around websites looking for comments.”

She wouldn’t have time for that, even if she wanted to.  Weaver has five features on the way.  She recently wedged in an appearance at Comic-Con, where the “Aliens” star was accorded royal treatment including a standing ovation, led a discussion about women in action films, and was part of the panel discussing James Cameron’s highly anticipated “Avatar.” And she’s in the midst of making Disney’s “You Again” comedy with Jamie Lee Curtis, Kristen Bell, Betty White and Kristin Chenoweth.

Jada Pinkett Smith in Hawthorne (photo from TNT)

Jada Pinkett Smith in Hawthorne (photo from TNT)

HARMONIOUS CONVERGENCEJada Pinkett Smith is a loyal colleague, Joanna Cassidy wants us to know.  “When she works with actors, she works with them again. She’s really good that way.”  Cassidy’s currently being seen on Jada’s “HawthoRNe” series as the hospital administrator who was Jada’s late husband’s mother.

“I actually did a movie with Jada about a year and a half ago – ‘The Human Contract,’” notes Cassidy.  In that one, she played Jada’s character’s own mom.  “It was very believable.  I wore a wing that’s very curly and long, Jheri curled,” says the actress of her mixed race character.

Now, Cassidy’s thrilled with the numbers “HawthoRNe” has been pulling, declaring that “It’s a win for TNT” – and that in all probability, she’ll get to keep working with Jada.  “I love it.  I love it.  It’s very easy with her.  We have a very nice rapport and I’m able to find my place with her.  I don’t have to struggle.  It’s good that our characters are in conflict,” she adds.  “We already talked about some of the story ideas for next year – more in the vein of being competitive, possibly for some male attention.  You know how women are,” laughs the actress, who rose to fame in “Blade Runner.”  “Let’s light that fire.”

CASTING CORNER:  Casting continues on the HBO Films’ Al Pacino biggie, “You Don’t Know Jack,” with the Oscar winner playing controversial assisted suicide-supporting Dr. Jack Kevorkian, and fellow Oscar winner Susan Sarandon as Hemlock Society activist Janet GoodJohn Goodman and Danny Huston are also in the cast.  Among the secondary roles now being filled by director Barry Levinson are those of a Hispanic California woman suffering from an inoperable spinal tumor, who’ll be seen consulting with Dr. Kevorkian as police burst into her home.  She’ll dare the cops to arrest her or leave.  The woman’s husband is being cast also, as is a handsome forty-something anchor man who’ll be seen interviewing Kevorkian, a.k.a. “Dr. Death.”

AND:  You know the hunger’s got to be intense amongst actors trying to get in on “Dinner for Schmucks.”  That’s the film, due to roll in October, that stars Paul Rudd as an executive at a private equity fund, where the bigwigs delight in having dinner parties wherein they bring guests so stupid or boring that they can have fun mocking them.  Rudd’s character thinks he’s got it made when he finds the ultimate loser: an amateur taxidermist named Barry who creates religious and historical tableaus using dead mice – Steve Carell.  Of course, things turn out very differently than planned.  Now casting forces are filling in both the roles of the other “masters of the universe”-style execs, their significant others, and of course, the other hapless dinner guests.

With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster

Jada Tells Why Work is Good for Her and Will’s Kids

Jada and Will

Jada and Will

The Will Smith family takes off for a three-month stay in China — where 10-year-old son Jaden will star in the remake of  “Karate Kid” —  as soon as mama Jada wraps the first season of her TNT “HawthoRNe”  series next month. Asked if she has if she has any concern about Jaden and his 9-year-old sister Willow pursuing theatrical careers as such an early age, Jada notes, “You don’t have to worry about kids  being spoiled by attention when their father is the biggest movie star in the world.”

She adds that it’s important that her children know what work is, “because they live in abundance.  It’s very easy for youngsters in a privileged lifestyle to have no drive.  We wanted  our children to feel the gratification of hard work.  Will and I developed strong drives at an early age.  He worked in an ice house with his father to help his family survive.  I started work at age 12.   We felt it was important that our children created the same foundations.”

Jada has already proven herself in many movies and with her Wicked Wisdom band, and says she’s now taking on the series in which she’ll play a hospital nursing director because, “I felt I needed the challenge of trying to go into the next phase of my career.” She stresses that the first season of the show is only taking three months of her time, and that it’s being done with the blessings of her family, “Who are with me constantly. Will is on the set all the time and my daughter spent all day with me on the set yesterday.  It’s a project we discussed and agreed was something that would be good for me to do.”
 
LOOKING GOOD:  While there’s no shortage of beauty among the contestants on TV Land’s “She’s Got the Look” reality show for wannabe models over 35, the beauty that launched host Kim Alexis into a Supermodel is hard to ignore.  She’s gorgeous at 48, but when it comes to the idea of marketing merchandise based on that fact, she laughs.  “I think I’m in research and development.  I find that what I like to do is be the one doing the research, going through the little things as I’m growing older myself so I can be a good voice.”  Alexis, who has run eight marathons, notes, “I try to be encouraging to women when it comes to fitness.”  She also says, “I found a great doctor I enjoy working with; he’s anti-aging.  I’ve been talking to him…maybe I’ll do something down the line.”
 
Right now, she’s focused on the second season of “She’s Got the Look,” which launches June 11.  She feels strongly that there’s a good take-away for viewers watching the show – “that if you have dreams and desires that haven’t been pursued, you need to go after that to feel better about yourself.”  

IN GEAR:  NBC recently announced “Southland” has been renewed for a second season, which is good news for the show’s star Regina King, who tells us she’s really starting to gel with her character.  “I love that she is a detective who is a woman.  She has the vulnerability that all women have, no matter how strong she is.  That’s just part of being a woman – we can’t help but care,” notes King, who is known for being a strong, independent woman herself.  “Lydia is strong but she doesn’t come off like a cyborg.  She expresses emotions but isn’t weak so the combination of the two is great.” 
 
THE INDUSTRY EYE:  Interesting casting challenge for the team behind the upcoming indie film “Chicago 8” – including seven of those charged with inciting a riot and conspiracy relating to the protests that took place outside the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago:  Jerry Rubin, Devid Dellinger, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, John Froines, Lee Weiner and Bobby Seale.  Abbie Hoffman is reportedly already cast.  They’re also going to need actors to portray other real-life characters involved including Judge Julius Offman and Allen Ginsberg.
 
And there’s a big part ahead for some lucky dog.  Plans are afoot for a “Marmaduke” feature based on the popular comic strip about an oversized but loveable pooch.  Actually, casting forces are interviewing candidates for secondary roles now, including Marmaduke’s master’s boss and Marmaduke’s dog trainer.

 With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster