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Will Smith on Seven Pounds

Published December 18, 2008 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Images property of Dimension Films
Seven PoundsSeven Pounds
Seven Pounds is a mystery. You're not supposed to know what the plan is as Ben Thomas (Will Smith) flashes back from his suicide phone call to 911. In an effort to maintain the surprise, Smith discussed one of the film's signature images, the jellyfish, without revealing its ultimate purpose.

Will Smith Weighs Seven Pounds

"People can't know about it so we have to talk in code because we can't say," said Smith. "The idea of the jellyfish was such a fantastic concept. Early in the story, when the little boy, when Connor Cruise is looking at the glass, the voiceover is, 'My father told me that this was the most deadly creature on earth, but to me it was just the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen.' I just love that we never talk about it in the story but the character, Ben Thomas, relates to that because that's how he feels. He views himself as the most deadly creature on earth. But he also sees himself as potentially the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen so I love that he can relate to that."

Of course, the film made their own jellyfish. "It's all computer generated. No jellyfish were harmed in the making of this film."

Seven Pounds reunites Smith with his Pursuit of Happyness director Gabriele Muccino. It may not be a triumphant a story, but it's equally emotional to Smith.

"It's almost like he makes male chick flicks. Right, like he makes movies, where men, you can sit in there and you can cry but still it's a man cry, you know? It's a man cry, The Pursuit of Happyness is like men all over the world it just touched that and not a weak place. It touched a strong place of wanting to be that kind of father. With this movie, it hits men in a way where you believe in love and you want it, but you're not allowed to be sensitive. Gabrielle just touches that powerful male spot, where it's okay to cry."

He also challenges action hero Smith to go to his darkest places. "We shot the last half hour of the movie in the last 30 days of filming. So it's like that mental space is just debilitating, just beats on you, as an actor, you don't want to just pretend. So what you're doing is you're actually taking yourself everyday into those dark thoughts and what happens is your mind takes over on its own. So the dark thoughts and the experiences and flashes of the accident all those things start to come in, so it actually starts to have physical reactions. I started getting colds, I was like, I never get sick. I never get sick. So it was a very difficult last 30 days and then probably a month really to totally come out of it, after the film."

Should the prospect of a movie opening with suicide scare off holiday viewers, Smith offered his positive interpretation. "One of the major things that I connected to was the idea that death is not the end. And not just a literal death, but like you lose your job, you get a divorce, all of these figurative deaths that you could have in your life, that's not the end. That's the winter before the spring that inevitably comes again. My character didn't realize that it wasn't just a cliff that you fall off and everything is over. Life goes on and new flowers will be born, the birds will come back and all of that, if you allow yourself to be open to it and accept the idea. This movie's almost a cautionary tale about that idea, because he realized it too late."

Seven Pounds opens to theaters on December 19th.

For the trailers and more movie info, go to the Seven Pounds Movie Page.

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Fred Topel
Sources: Images property of Dimension Films

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