- Title: USA: Will Smith shines at "Seven Pounds" premiere
- Date: 19th December 2008
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (English) ACTOR MICHAEL EALY ON WORKING WITH ACTOR WILL SMITH, SAYING: "The thing I like about Will the most is that he likes to keep things organic and fresh. You know what I mean. It's not, it's not about a lack of rehearsal because you do that. But weeks later when you actually shoot the scene you rehearsed, you know, he, he just doesn't like to be limited by like camera constraints and stuff like that. He needs to feel free. And coming from the stage, I really respect that."
- Embargoed: 3rd January 2009 12:00
- Location: Usa
- Country: USA
- Reuters ID: LVACZPNQ9UUYBWLTEG4P2OEDRANG
- Story Text: Actor Will Smith again teams with Italian director Gabriele Muccino for his new film "Seven Pounds." Rosario Dawson and Woody Harrelson also star in the movie about an IRS agent seeking to redeem his life by changing the lives of seven strangers. The movie premiered in Los Angeles on Tuesday (December 16) night. "Seven Pounds" opens December 19 across North America.
Actor Will Smith again teams with Italian director Gabriele Muccino for his new film "Seven Pounds."
Rosario Dawson and Woody Harrelson also star in the movie about an IRS agent named Ben Thomas (Smith) who is depressed over the death of his wife and seeking to redemption for past mistakes by changing the lives of seven strangers.
The movie premiered in Los Angeles on Tuesday (December 16) night.
In addition to the cast, celebrity guests included singer Chaka Khan and actress Gabrielle Union.
Union co-starred in "Bad Boys II" with Smith. And her current film, "Cadillac Records," is receiving rave reviews and got one Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Song.
Smith, 40, told Reuters this screenplay and his other recent movies examine how people deal with devastating losses.
"There's a thing I'm really intrigued with now. The idea of, of emotional trauma and we go on," explained Smith. "How do we continue our lives after we have lost something, that was really valuable to us. How do we continue. And I love the idea that in all of those films, the idea that it's there if you just open yourself up to it."
An Academy Award nomination for the part would be the third for Smith.
He first got an Oscar nod for playing Muhammad "Ali" in 2001, and then again in 2006 for his portrayal of Chris Gardner in "The Pursuit of Happyness."
Connor Cruise, the adopted son of actor Tom Cruise and ex-wife Nicole Kidman, was cast in the movie to play a younger version of Smith's character.
Smith said the 13-year-old approached his first acting job with confidence.
"Connor was really professional," smiled Smith. "Not nervous at all. He just, he's been probably for about eight or nine months he had been talking about how he wanted to act. He's got a couple of good role models in his life so I think he might be able to put something together."
Actor Michael Ealy was hand-picked by Smith to play the role of his brother in the movie.
Ealy, who has a theatre background, shared that he admired Smith's approach to filmmaking.
"The thing I like about Will the most is that he likes to keep things organic and fresh," said the 35-year-old. "You know what I mean. It's not, it's not about a lack of rehearsal because you do that. But weeks later when you actually shoot the scene you rehearsed, you know, he, he just doesn't like to be limited by like camera constraints and stuff like that. He needs to feel free. And coming from the stage, I really respect that."
Actress Rosario Dawson who played opposite Smith in "Seven Pounds" as the love interest of his character talked about how the pair were able to create such an authentic dynamic on-screen.
"I just think it was wonderful, you know, the work started at the audition, you know," recalled Dawson, 29. "When I auditioned for this role and just, it was about commitment and level, and just really making sure that you were going to do the work. So we really- I think it was really great that actually on 'Men In Black II" we were to just meet. But this is where we really got to know each on, was on this film. And as the characters get to know each, so are we. And it was, you know, I just really admire him. He's a very smart man. He's a very talented man. And he did an incredible job in this film. And it was wonderful bringing these two characters to life together."
Woody Harrelson appears as a blind pianist who befriends Smith's character.
Italian director Gabriele Muccino was personally selected by Smith to serve as the director of first "The Pursuit of Happyness," and then "Seven Pounds," after Smith saw a film the award-winning director had made in Europe.
Muccino considers Smith heroic, and "Seven Pounds" to be a cautionary tale.
"I think he's the bravest actor, I ever-- even the bravest man, that I've ever met," opined 41-year-old Muccino. "And I've been insane enough to follow him in such a brave journey, which paid off, definitely. Because we believe, we strongly believe, we did a very powerful movie about an incredibly powerful love story. And about many other elements that in life are so important, like the what is, how ephemeral our life is.
How attentive we have to be to what we do. Because a little mistake can provoke a domino effect that's going to ruin our life and other people's lives."
"Seven Pounds" is scheduled to be released in the United States on December 19, 2008.
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