Jada Pinkett Smith Not Worried Over Impact of Stardom on Kids
Jada Pinkett Smith isn't worried about the impact movie stardom is having on her 11-year-old son, Jaden, now that he's the title star of "The Karate Kid," opening tomorrow (6/11). Fame, she notes, "has always been a part of his life. For him, it's not anything different. Yes, the focus and attention is on him now, but he's just like, 'OK.' He's a very mellow, introverted cat who takes everything in stride."
Daughter Willow, on the other hand, "is explosive. She's all energy. She's like her father in that way — very, very extroverted. They're both kind of layered with both of our personalities," she says of herself and husband Will. "My son is more like me in how he deals with fame, but he's very much driving with his career, like his father. Our daughter, I would say, deals with the public like Will does, but her creative sensibilities are very much like mine, very unconventional."
The 9-year-old — who has a music project of her own coming out in late summer — latched on to China in a big way when the Smith family was in that land for three months last year while Jaden was shooting "Karate Kid" with Jackie Chan.
"I didn't expect my daughter wanting to learn Mandarin. She has continued to learn the language here. When we go back to China for the premiere there, she asked if her Mandarin teacher could come along, to help her keep up with her new language skills. We said 'Absolutely.' She has so much love for the culture. That was surprising."
The Smiths have the Tony Awards to attend Sunday (6/13) — they, along with Beyonce and Jay-Z — are producers on the musical "Fela!" that's up for 11 awards. The next day, they head for China and the film's premiere there. After that, they'll be traveling to other points 'round the globe to help launch the movie. Jada's TNT "Hawthorne" series gets its second season premiere June 22.
Jada posed nude for the cover of Essence that's just coming out. What does Will think about that? "Oh, he loves that stuff. He loved the photos," she says.
SUMMER OF SONG: "CSI" coroner Robert David Hall is having a high-flying time of it this summer — in his other career as a music man. His "Things They Don't Teach You in School" album, a folksy, rootsy, Americana-style collection of songs he wrote himself and recorded in Austin, Texas, is getting a reception Hall admits exceeds his hopes. He slipped Craig Ferguson a copy, then Ferguson invited Hall to perform on his "Late Late Show." Come June 19, he'll be at Nashville's legendary Ryman Auditorium as part of the lineup for the Grand Ole Opry 85th Anniversary celebration's "I'm With the Band" series.
"This is sort of a Warp 10 for me. I'm not scared; I am thrilled. I know it's going to go well, but I don't want to think about it too much because it's almost overwhelming. I lived in Virginia for a while, growing up, and I listened to the Opry. So many wonderful musicians have played there, you can't name them all. Anyone who is anyone in country music. It's the highest honor," he gushes.
Hall got to see some of his favorites, like Emmylou Harris, at the recent Gershwin Awards presentation to Paul McCartney at the White House (airing on PBS July 28). "Being in the room with the president was amazing enough, but there were also Stevie Wonder, Elvis Costello, the Jonas Brothers — they're not my cup of tea, but I know the first daughters like them — Jerry Seinfeld, who was hilarious ... and Dave Grohl from Foo Fighters. He was the surprise, playing 'Band on the Run' and adding a lot of energy. It was such a spectacular thing."
Hall, a double amputee whose work on behalf of the disability community has taken him to the White House before, says he and his wife, Judy, just happened to have McCartney to themselves for a minute as they rode a White House elevator together.
"I introduced my wife, and he sang to her — 'Hey, Judy,'" Hall imitates. "She was doing cartwheels."
THAT'S A HOOT: "Advertorials" — ads in any other language — carried over the weekend boasted that Suzanne Somers' book "Breakthrough: Eight Steps to Wellness" is featured prominently in "Sex in the City 2," The truth is that Somers, her book and her claims of leading women to health get only put-down mention in the film, when one of the actresses makes a positive remark about Somers and her teachings, and a co-star wonders aloud why she'd want to follow the teachings of the person who gave us the ThighMaster. And that's the end of the "prominent praise" given to Somers in "Sex."
THE SPICE OF LIFE: Paul Dano, the "There Will Be Blood" and "Little Miss Sunshine" actor who continually turns out performances in unusual indie fare between major feature roles, has the Tom Cruise-Cameron Diaz "Knight and Day" actioner, plus "The Extra Man" comedy — with Kevin Kline, John C. Reilly and Mrs. Cruise, Katie Holmes — coming out this summer. And he says he also has high hopes for "For Ellen," in which "I get to play a hard rock 'n' roller who is a little bit at the edge." The latter drama, completed this spring, is from filmmaker So Yong Kim, who did "Treeless Mountain" a couple years back.
As for what's next, how about Dano uniting with girlfriend Zoe Kazan? They've worked together before, after all. "Sure," he says. "I don't see a lot of reasons not to. We both tend to like the same things, so you never know."
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