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Will Smith takes on another tough role in Seven Pounds

Reem Azem

Issue date: 12/5/08 Section: Focus
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The Will Smith that many of us know best is the slightly goofy Fresh Prince, born and raised in West Philadelphia, yet causing mayhem in high-class Bel-Air. However, in the past few years, we have seen Smith take on more serious roles that have established him as a respected actor. With characters ranging from Muhammad Ali to rags-to-riches success Christopher Gardner, Smith has shown the world that his work runs deeper than his Uncle Phil fat jokes.

Christened by Newsweek as "the most powerful actor on the planet," the Academy Award-winning actor's powerful roles have simultaneously inspired moviegoers and brought them to tears. His latest movie, Seven Pounds, is yet another drama, directed by Gabriele Muccino, with whom he worked on The Pursuit of Happyness (Smith was also a producer on both projects). While Seven Pounds is certainly not a feel-good holiday film, it is definitely one of Smith's more unique projects. The movie deals with many profound themes: death, the good intentions of humans, and lost (and recovered) love.

The film kicks off with an intense phone call to 911 and a shot of an incredibly distraught Smith reporting a suicide. When the authorities ask who the victim is, the audience is left confused when Smith's character breathes into the receiver, "I am." The plot follows Ben Thomas (played by Smith), an IRS agent who has somehow given himself the power to change the lives of seven people. However, before he acts, he feels the need to be absolutely certain that each person deserves the blessing coming to them. Throughout the film, he comes in contact with each of the seven strangers and forms some sort of connection, particularly with the dying heart patient played by Rosario Dawson. While the movie may not appeal to all audiences, Smith's acting is truly heart-wrenching. He plays a perfect tortured soul, causing viewers to feel his pain radiating from each and every agonized smile.

Will Smith was recently in Cleveland at our own Valley View Theater for a red carpet premiere of Seven Pounds. Smith has also promoted the film in Dallas, Denver, St. Louis, and Miami (where Smith said he was the "honorary mayor"). In the spirit of the holidays, Smith used this event as an opportunity to reach out to the less fortunate by donating 200 turkeys to the Cleveland Food Bank and encouraging those attending the events to donate non-perishable food items. Prior to the big event, Smith met with several local reporters (myself included) to discuss Seven Pounds among other topics. Though Smith has been tackling dark roles lately, listening to him speak, his light-hearted manner and unfailing humor created a relaxed vibe.
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    Andrew

    posted 12/05/08 @ 1:38 AM EST

    The movie was horrible, especially when Will Smith dies from a jellyfish, but the man is still extremely honorable and a nice guy, from a fellow reporter's opinion. (Continued…)

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    In This Issue

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