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