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December 05, 2008

Will Smith as himself


He did the Full Will Smith, with the mugging and the winking, exaggerated impersonations of his heavy-Italian-accented "Seven Pounds" director and descriptive tales of going a little crazy while working on the non-linear drama/thriller/romance.

Never let it be said that Smith doesn't play to a crowd.

The two-time Oscar-nominated Smith seemed glad to be himself again at a screening of "Seven Pounds" at the DGA last night, seeing as he'd had to keep all his personal ticks and quirks in check during filming, he said. Director Gabriele Muccino, who also helmed "The Pursuit of Happyness," wanted him to be Will Smith, but not WILL SMITH for this latest role as an IRS agent on a soul-saving mission.

"He would say, 'Do not pose for my camera,'" Smith said of Muccino. " 'You're not angry for real. Go to your trailer and come back when you are really angry.' "

The idea was to cut him off from his action/popcorn movie tricks of the trade, thus getting a performance more believable for a serious drama. Even the film editor, who also worked on "Pursuit," was on board.


"In 'Pursuit,' we cut out all the stuff where Will was being Will," said Hughes Winborne, who took part in the post-screening Q&A with Muccino, Smith (pictured here at an event a few months ago) and radiant co-star Rosario Dawson. "And anything that snuck in in 'Seven Pounds,' snip!"

Since we've promised, under threat of caning, not to reveal any significant plot points of the movie, we'll have to skip telling you about most of the spoiler-plagued Q&A. We can give you a few hints, though, about a flick that's proving to be a challenging sell, both to the potential audience and awards pundits.

The name? It's a Shakespearean reference, not the weight of a body part. The plot? Guy tries to make amends for a terrible mistake by helping worthy strangers. An unexpected love blooms. Verdict? Able to make a hardened Gold Rusher sob quietly while no one was looking. Eyes to yourselves, people!

As far as acting awards prospects? We like Dawson for the Golden Globes and maybe beyond. Smith? We like the risks he's taking with drama -- no, he doesn't always have to be an action hero or a funny man to engage us -- but think this year might be too crowded already in the Oscar best actor field.

But there's still plenty of time and awards seasons for Will to be Will, and whoever else he wants to be.




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I'm looking forward to his first bomb tho I don't think it's possible. This sounds very disappointing,.......

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Oscar Contenders

  • So "The Dark Knight" didn't make it into the final five after all, never mind that critical and popular support. Let's just call the comic-inspired mega-hit "The Biggest Snubee."

    Here are the best picture contenders in a race that, two weeks away from the Oscars, seems to be a foregone conclusion ("Slumdog") unless there's a come-from-behind possibility ("The Reader" anyone?)

    "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett; the politically timely "Milk;" rags-to-riches fairy tale, "Slumdog Millionaire," Holocaust best-seller-based drama "The Reader," and Watergate-era biopic "Frost/Nixon."

    Could "Button" and "Slumdog" split the vote, allowing another film to take the prize? Doesn't seem likely. After having clung to "Button" for months as what we thought would be the Academy voters' top vhoice, our money's now on "Slumdog." Momentum can't be ignored.

    Watch this blog for updates, ephemera and all manner of postulating.

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  • Mmmmm, chocolate Oscar. Not every star will walk away from the 81st annual Academy Awards with a trophy, but if they hit the high-profile Governor's Ball they can have pastry chef Sherry Yard's gold-dusted candy version. Also on the menu from celeb chef Wolfgang Puck is tuna tartare in sesame miso cones, chopped Chino Farms vegetable salad with ginger soy vinaigrette, Maine lobster and caviar. Serve it up! (Getty Images)

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