Will Smith – Playing Young in “Gemini Man” and Getting Fearless on Social Media | The Daily Show
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Will Smith – Playing Young in “Gemini Man” and Getting Fearless on Social Media | The Daily Show


Welcome back to the show,
my friend. Man, I am so happy to be here. Good to see you.
You look happy. -Yes. -I mean,
you-you always look happy. But I’m honestly gonna say,
you look happy. Yes. This-this, uh… this last year has probably been
the best year of my adult life. What-what does– What–
When-when people say that, th-they normally mean, like,
“Oh, I– Like, I got a raise” -or “I got a…”
But you are Will Smith. -Yeah. -Yes. Yes. (laughing)
-So, if-if Will Smith says, “This has been
the best year of my life,” we’re like, “What were
the other ones? What does…” Well, why? Like, why would you
say that? What does that mean? No, you know, um, uh, on my–
on my 50th birthday, I-I went– I jumped out–
I did the bungee jump thing. -The helicopter over
the Grand Canyon. -Right, right, -right, right, right.
-You know, and… That was the thing
the white people told you -to do, right?
-Yes, yes. -I remember that,
I remember that. -Yes. It’s why you need white friends. -That’s true. That is true.
-Right? Um… So, I d…
(laughs) So, I did the bungee out
of the helicopter, right? But it was– it was, um… it was a bigger thing
than that for me, right? I had painted myself
into a little bit of a… of-of a Will Smith corner,
right? So, there were–
there were things that, because I had kids
and because I was Will Smith, there were things I couldn’t say
and things I couldn’t do -and certain projects
I couldn’t take. -Huh. And I had sort of painted myself into a little bit
of a fearful corner. And that-that sort of
marked a moment where I told myself,
“You’re… That-That’s it. “I’m gonna…
I’m gonna do what I want, “I’m gonna say what I want,
I gonna live the way I want “without the fear
of somehow losing something that-that… that was precious
I’ve created.” And I’ve just…
I’ve been more free and more joyous
and more peaceful than in my entire adult life. -(applause and cheering)
-That is truly amazing to hear. -Yeah.
-Because, like… people would never think…
people would never think that Will Smith could be
at the place in his life. And in a… in a…
in a weird way, I feel like
that is the story of Gemini Man. -Right?
-Yes, exactly. Because-because in the film, you play the best assassin
in the world. -Yup. Yup.
-Right? And you play this man,
and he goes, “You know what? -I’m-I’m done with the game.”
-Yup. -But the game’s not done
with you. -Yes, exactly. And as we see in the trailer, they send the younger version
of you… -Yes.
-…to go and kill you. -Yes. -‘Cause that’s
the only person good enough. Yes. It’s ’cause-’cause
I’m so good. I’m so good. (laughter) The only way that me
could get killed is… -It would have to be me
killing me. -(laughter) -All right?
-It’s-it’s-it’s… -it’s a crazy concept…
-Yeah. -with wild technology,
but-but… -Yup. And I know
you’ve talked about that a lot, but… but I mean,
this-this is another challenge. -Yup. -I mean, we’ve seen you…
we’ve seen you play all types… -all types of characters.
-Mm-hmm. We’ve seen you just be
the only person in the movie, -just you and a dog.
-Yes. Yes. Yeah, I played that. And then, now you are like,
“No, I’m gonna be me… -No. -fighting against me.”
-Yeah. I just don’t need other actors,
man. That’s, well, you know… (laughter) (applause and cheering) Oh, man. Yeah… But what-what’s challenging
about that? -So… -What’s challenging
about playing old Will Smith and young Will Smith
in the same scene? So you know what-what is
the-the most difficult part is, like, playing youth, right? -Right. Right.
-So there’s a naiveté to youth. And there’s a look
in-in someone’s eyes -when they really don’t know,
right? -Right. But then, as you get older, there’s, like, a certain thing
that, like… It just gets in your…
in your blood and in your cells
when you know things, right? So having to go back
and play young, like-like… It’s like sex, right? -You can’t un-know sex, right?
-(laughter) -Wait.
-I’ve tried many times. Do we have some room?
I want to show you. -I’m gonna show you.
Let me show you. -I tried. Yeah. -All right.
-All right, so, before you have sex,
before you have sex, right, -you walk like this. -NOAH:
Let’s get some lights on there. -Let’s get some lights on there.
-Get some light. Get some light.
Get some lights, right? -NOAH: Let’s get some lights on
the… -Get some lights. Throw the lights.
Throw the lights on here. -Just throw-throw the lights.
Throw the lights. -All right. -All right, let’s do this.
-Before you have sex. -All right, go. Yes. -All right,
so this is before you have sex. Before you have sex. -Yes. -Before you have sex,
you’re, like… (laughter) -Right. Right.
-Right? -Okay. That’s pre-sex?
-That’s pre-sex. -Cool. -And then
the first time you have sex, -it changes your back, right?
-Okay. And it’s, like,… (laughter) (applause) (cheering) You know…
(laughs) Right? So… as an… as an actor,
as an actor, -you can’t un-ring that bell,
you know? -Right. So you have to really go back,
and I went back and I studied -some of my old material
-That’s interesting. to try to find youthful naivete. Let me ask you this, though. You are Will Smith–
and I-I know this sounds like I’m flattering you–
but you always… -No, I’m cool with that.
-(laughter) -That’s why I came here, man.
-Yeah. But, I mean… but every time I see you,
you-you look like Will Smith. Like, I’ve never thought
of Will Smith being old. Just, like, it’s Will Smith.
Will Smith is just Will Smith. I feel like… like, I
watched you when I was younger, and then I just caught up to you
and now we’re the same, and then it’s, like,
and then I feel like I’m gonna be old one day,
and be like, “Hey, Will, what’s going on?” and you’re
still gonna be Will Smith. So, like, like,
I have to ask you, is there a level
of vulnerability that comes with acknowledging that you
are aging as Will Smith? Yeah. You know,
that-that was, uh… that was another part of
the-the experience that I had. Like, uh, turning 50,
I’ve never… I’ve never really thought
about age and felt it that way, but, like, last year
when I turned 50, it was, like, it’s a five in front of it? Like… the five–
like, 40 was cool, 30 was cool. Like, 50 was, like,
whoa, man, we need to… -jump out a helicopter
or something. -(laughter) You… you know, it really… it, uh, it hit me a little bit. But the-the accepting,
uh, being older and even for Gemini Man,
a lot of those things came up, and you’re thinking
about the previous life, and you think about the… -the karma of the mistakes
you’ve made, and… -Mm-hmm. and what would you…
not do, you know, if you… if you had known,
and all of those things came up. But, uh,
I’ve solved the problem. I’m… I am… I am having an absolute ball with my life
right now. One thing that
has fascinated me about you is, for a long time,
you were an enigma. Hey, hey, man,
you can’t say that on TV. (laughter) You were… you were Will Smith.
We saw Will Smith -at the movies…
-We use that in private, man! -You my enigma. And so you…
-(laughter) you were… you were at…
you were at movie premieres, and you were
in magazines and T… -but we didn’t know Will Smith,
right? -Right. Right. All of a sudden,
we saw Will Smith on YouTube, we saw Will Smith on Instagram,
but we didn’t… -we didn’t see a curated
Will Smith. -Right. We saw Will Smith teasing his
kids and having fun with them. We saw Will Smith
goofing around with Jada. We see Smith going,
“Hey, man, I’m a human being -Yeah. -“who is also a megastar,
but I’m a human being. -Yeah. -“I feel, I love,
I laugh, I dance. -I don’t take myself
that seriously.” -Absolutely. That-that in and of itself
is a big chance -and a step to take as a person.
-Yeah. Why-Why do you,
and why do you keep doing it? So wh-when I first was, uh, setting out to become– I said, “I want to be the biggest
movie star in the world.” And that was pre-Internet, -it was, uh, pre-social media.
-Right. So during that time,
the idea was you couldn’t be a movie star -if you didn’t maintain mystery,
right? -Got it. So the-the common belief
was nobody’s gonna go to a movie theater
if they see you every day. Right? So you would stay out and you would maintain
the mystery, and the only time
that they’d get to see you is the Fourth of July
on the big screen. -Right.
-Right. So what happened was
as social media came, there was a– there was a shift. And I-I was trying to hold on
for-for a little while, and I-I realized that
the new mentality is nobody’s coming
to the movie theater if they don’t see you every day,
right? People want to feel like
they’re friends. They want to know. So it’s a completely
different shift. And another thing happened
for me with social media. Um, I was, I was– I had so many creative ideas that were-were dying
on the vine inside of me. -Got it.
-Right. So when you put out a movie–
Gemini Man– it might be two and a half years from the time we started
till it comes out. So that’s one piece of content
in two and a half years. But what’s social media’s
allowing me to do is all of those ideas
and all of those concepts get to-to come out. And there was a,
there was an analogy I used, I was experiencing
creative constipation. -Okay. Okay.
-Right? Right? -No, go with me this, right?
-I’m with you. I’m with you. -So I was experiencing creative
constipation, right? -Uh-huh. So, uh, the Internet
has allowed me like-like a laxative… right? -To just start flowing.
-And I just– So now I get to put it
all over the fans. -Got you.
-Yeah. -Will Smith is now putting it
all over the fans. -Yeah. Yeah. Let me-Let me ask you this
before you go. Um, you know… Who said I was going? -I-I-I…
-(cheers and applause) Please. Please. (cheers and applause) Please. You’re Will Smith
but I have places to be. Um… -No, no, let me ask…
let me ask you this. -Uh-huh. You know, when you… when you
make a movie like Gemini Man, everyone would always jump
to the first assumption, which is like, “What advice would you give
your younger self?” And, like, that’s, like,
an immediate assumption -you would have as a person when
you watch that movie. -Mm-hmm. -But being a parent means
you are a Gemini man. -Mm-hmm. You know, you already have -many new versions of yourself.
-Many, yes. (laughs) -You know, you have your kids,
who we all know and love. -Yeah. -Mm-hmm. -What-what advice
do you give them? What are the things
that you tell them that you don’t want them
to replicate in their lives? -Yeah. -Because, I mean, you…
You’re extremely successful, so it’s hard to say,
“Don’t make my mistakes.” -Don’t make… Yeah. -‘Cause
your mistakes got you here. -Yeah. -So what do you
actually say to your kids? -I made some pretty good
mistakes. -That’s the thing. -I made some good mistakes.
-Right? So what do you actually say to your kids? What do you
hope they will change in their lives
while still maintaining what you’ve gotten
to get you to this level? You know, from this-this time and-and, you know,
doing the deep study during Gemini Man
and looking at it and those questions came up, and-and what I really found is nobody can know for you. Right? People can know
for themselves, but they can’t…
they can’t know for you, right? Um, my…
I was making the decision when I-I graduated
from high school between music
and going to college. -Mm-hmm.
-And my mother said, “You’ll never make anything
of yourself if you don’t go to college.” Right? And, you know,
that was true for her. -Right, right.
-It wasn’t true for me. Right? So I’ve learned, and with my kids,
I got really humble, right, and-and not wanting
to be on them as if I could possibly know the decisions
that they need to make. So I’ve learned to be open and to watch
and to pay attention and to trust that,
you know, the same God that held my hand
through the world is gonna hold theirs. And I’m there
to support their journey, not to force mine upon them. -Wow.
-(cheering and applause) Yeah. -Yeah, see?
-Uh… -Now…
-Yeah. Now, you don’t want me
to leave now. No, now I don’t want you
to leave. Yeah, now,
now you don’t want me to leave. -You know, now.
-(laughs) You know,
but now I got something to do. Now I got something to do. -You know?
-Oh, man. You know what?
You’re-you’re not old, but you’re definitely wise,
Will Smith. No, I-I love that about… Thank you so much
for being here, man. -I appreciate it, man.
-It’s great seeing you again. -Thank you, man, thank you.
-Thank you for the movie. Thank you for the social media.
We love that you spray us -with all of that that was
contained within you. -Yeah. The analogy didn’t work.
It didn’t hold up. -Hey, hey, it doesn’t matter. It
doesn’t matter. -It did matter. -But you get the idea of it.
-And we still enjoy it. Gemini Man will be in theaters
October 11. Will Smith, everybody.

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