November 02, 2006
"Pursuit of Happyness" at the Egyptian

EDIT (1:19PM): In today's Hot Button column, David Poland does a very nice job of conveying the same atmosphere of the Q&A I described last night.

EARLIER: Gabriele Muccino's "The Pursuit of Happyness" played to a SAG crowd tonight at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood. I'm not able to give my personal opinion of the film as of yet, but the crowd ate it up - can I say that at least? I guess I'll find out soon enough.

Anyway, Will Smith charmed the pants off those in attendance (as always) in the follow-up Q&A. This guy answers questions like no one else I've ever seen. He's always had the spark, but seriously, no hesitation, no pulled punches and no lack of preparation is to be found.

Smith told wonderful stories about how son Jaden, who co-stars in the film, taught him things he had forgotten as an actor. He also commented that working with Muccino joins the experience of working with Michael Mann as a significant turning point in his career. He now feels that he will never allow himself to dip below a certain artistry, and that kind of obvious awakening is really something special to witness.

Smith really is a dream for any PR team pushing a film during the Oscar season. He works extremely hard for his films, even when it isn't necessary, and without saying anything about the actual performance, a few more appearances like this will certainly keep him in the place I've considered him to be for some time: Peter O'Toole's true competition for the Best Actor victor this year.


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