Smith weighs good vs. evil in new flick

Robert Checkal

Actor talks about his gloomy role

Ben Thomas (Will Smith) is distraught. He claims to be an IRS agent, with the capability to drastically change people’s lives. But he has a secret, a secret he hides from seven strangers whom he is about to help. All the while, he is obsessed with measuring the good of these seven individuals.

Will Smith is phenomenal in this role. He lives and breathes the gloomy enigma of Ben Thomas, all while introducing himself to strange characteristics that lead him back to the inescapable secret of his past.

Real Quick:

Seven Pounds

Starring Will Smith,

Rosario Dawson

Distributed by

Columbia Picutres

Rated PG-13

Release date Decmeber 19

Smith said he hated suppressing his happy-go-lucky personality to create such an intense character for the film.

“I didn’t like that at all,” Smith said. “You know, it’s the process of acting and understanding a character. When you understand the seed of what made this person what he is, you’re able to create strange behavior. Once it gets programmed, you’re adjusting your instincts to create your natural reaction.”

Smith said the most powerful discovery he made about his character came to him through the fact that Ben wanted to know if people were good. From there, Smith determined how Ben would judge others’ characters.

He decided Ben wouldn’t be reviewing their history on paper, but would judge them by looking into their eyes, so Smith worked with a body language specialist to learn what he felt Ben already knew.

“We wanted to know how you tell if someone is lying or scared,” Smith said. “(Ben) would absolutely study all of those things.”

“The specialist said, ‘Everybody wears a mask,'” Smith continued. “Everybody has a part of their personality that wins. This is a character trying to look behind peoples’ masks. It’s not a figurative mask; he’s literally trying to look under people’s masks. He’s trying to keep his mask on at the same time he’s trying to look under the other person’s mask. That road develops into a character so drastically different from Will Smith that I can deliver the darkness naturally.”

Rosario Dawson is the female lead, playing Emily Posa. Emily is a struggling wedding invitation maker and a heart patient who happens to be behind on her taxes. She falls for Ben as he repeatedly pushes her away. She digs and digs, but for some reason she just can’t pry underneath Ben’s resilient fa‡ade.

I’ll admit, the movie was slow at times while it built up to its dramatic end. I wasn’t sure how everything was going to be directly combined. Smith fills his character with intensity and then the secret behind it suddenly hits you like a ton of bricks at the end. I heard sniffles from everyone in the audience, and I even shed a tear myself.

For the film, Smith once again teamed up with the director of “The Pursuit of Happyness,” Gabriele Muccino.

“As an actor, you have to trust the director,”Smith said. “Muccino has such a powerful insight into who I am. He sees all my tricks. You know, where you try to make the mean face instead of really feeling it.

“He’s like, ‘Do not pose for my camera. You are acting angry but you are not really angry. Go back to your trailer, get angry and come back,'” Smith said in a mock accent.

Last time the pair worked together, Smith scored his second Oscar nomination for his role in the dramatic film. Different than last time is Smith’s evolution as an actor, adding an overwhelming darkness to his normally happy-go-lucky persona. Similar to the last film, you leave the theater with a renewed sense of hope for humanity stemming from the immeasurable good bestowed upon those who are less fortunate.

Contact all reporter Robert Checkal at < a href=”mailto:[email protected]”>[email protected].