The high frame rates (120fps) and Will Smith playing two versions of himself are the selling points for Gemini Man, but since the film is directed by Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain, The Life of Pi), one can expect a deeper look beyond the seductive sheen.
Playing two roles in a high concept action thriller must have been a full day at the office for Will Smith, but during the press conference Smith discussed one of the most challenging aspects of Gemini Man centered on his acting. How would Smith, one of cinema’s most successful A-list stars, be able to play a younger and more naive version of himself?
Ang Lee watched some of Smith’s earlier performances (Six Degrees of Separation, Bad Boys, Independence Day) and gave him pointers on how to tackle the role of Junior.
“Before you learn how to act, there is a powerful thing you have from not knowing,” said Smith. “And it’s really difficult to recapture that not knowing. We found these really honest moments – I would say that was the most difficult part. It almost felt like learning how to do some bad acting. Like go back to bad acting because there is an honesty before you actually learn where the light is and you learn how to stand and you learn what makes people clap for movie stars in the theater. Letting go of all of that stuff was really difficult.”
Take a listen to the full audio version of Smith’s answer, and it’s definitely worth a listen just to hear Smith impersonate Ang Lee (which drew laughter from the media in attendance).
Gemini Man, co-starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Clive Owen, opens nationwide October 11.