*In a 2007 interview with Collider, Will Smith compared his kids, Willow and Jaden, to Hollywood stars Paris Hilton and Johnny Depp while speaking about their Hollywood careers.
Smith explained that Willow loved acting but that Jaden was the driving force that led to her Hollywood calling after she was inspired by his work in “The Pursuit Of Happyness.”
“Jaden is Johnny Depp. He just wants to do good work, he doesn’t care what money he gets, said Smith at the time. “He doesn’t care if people see it or don’t see it. He loves acting, he just wants to make good movies. Willow is Paris Hilton. Willow wants to be on TV. We are managing both of those in our household.”
In the same interview, when asked what it’s like working with his daughter, Smith offered the following lengthy response:
“You kind of don’t work with Willow, you work for Willow. (laughs) It’s interesting, Jada (Pinkett-Smith), and I debate the age old debate of nature versus nurture. Is it because two actors went to Mexico and drank some tequila and made a baby? Does that make the baby an actor? Or, did she grow up in a house where that is what is in her house, that is just the life, and that’s the experience that she knows,” he said.
“When I look at Willow, I just believe that it has to be neither one of those. There has to be something else. With Willow, she just loves it. We watched, I don’t remember the building, but we were shooting the bridge sequence. There is a building that had a temperature gauge on it and we watched it. You started at sunset, and it was probably twenty-nine degrees or something. Then we watched it go down to one, and then negative. Willow is out there, she has her stuff on, and she’s cold. She is getting a little irritable. She looks at me and says, ‘Daddy, I don’t care how low it goes, I’m going to finish.’ I was like, ‘Wow!’ I said, ‘That’s good baby, because Daddy is leaving if it go any lower than that one.’
Smith continued, “She just wants it, she has a drive, an energy, and she just connects to human emotion. I think a big part of it is probably Jaden. After ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ and she saw what Jaden did, she thought, ‘I want that.’ (laughs) The night we told Willow that she got the role, because we make our kids audition and all of that, we don’t do the whole nepotism thing, so Jaden was sitting where you are. I’m Willow. We always call the family in and we announce all the good things that happen with everybody in the house and everybody has to share in it. Willow is there, Jaden and I are here, and Willow is behind her. We say, ‘Everybody, we just want to congratulate Willow. She got, ‘I am Legend’.’ She immediately turns around to Jaden and smiles and I went ‘What’s that? What was that?’ Never had she talked about any feelings she was having, but it was like ‘Okay, I’m plotting on you dude.’”
And there you have it!