Madagascar 2: Jada Pinkett Smith Interview
LOVEFiLM: Was it even funnier to play Gloria for the second time?
Jada Pinkett Smith: It was, because the first time you’re still trying to figure it out. You know, you get in the booth, you’re playing with a whole bunch of different ideas and you’re trying to figure out who this character is, and then they piece it together and then you meet her at the premiere of the movie. You go, “Oh, there’s Gloria!” The second time I had a much more clear idea of what’s expected and a clear idea of who Gloria was, and it was much more enjoyable.
LF: Did you get lonely in a booth by yourself?
LF: Is it cool being Karate Kid’s mum?
JPS: It is cool being Karate Kid’s mom. You know, I’m really, really proud of my son and he’s almost a junior black belt, and I’m very excited about this project for him, yeah.
LF: So you’ll be going out to the set in Beijing to keep an eye on him?
JPS: Oh yes, I’ll be playing stage mommy, which is not a role I’m very good at because when you’re producing and directing, and as vocal and opinionated as I am, to have to sit there and literally just be mommy, it’s hard, you know?
The whole family will all be there together. Will will be producing. We made that agreement between us. “You handle all that and I’ll handle him.” And keep it very separated. So that’s how it works on the set.
LF: Did you have any concerns about your kids going into the movie business at an early age?
JPS: You know what? Not really. It’s something that they wanted to do. And I think because of how Will and I handle our career, they understand that it’s not our whole life. This is what we do as a business. It’s a family business and they treat it as such.
LF: Would you have been happier if your children didn’t want to go into acting?
JPS: It’s interesting because for a mother, you’re stressed anyway no matter what. It’s like if they’re going to law school or if they’re going to become a doctor... Just life in general. The one thing I can say is that because Will and I are in this business and we know it so well, we can be extremely helpful. It’s one area where I feel like I can protect them. I know the ins and outs of this business. I know it like the back of my hand. And I’m a ferocious protector of my family.
LF: You daughter also has a line in Madagascar 2, right?
JPS: Yeah, she plays baby Gloria and then they also called her back to play an obnoxious little girl in Mad Santa which is the Madagascar Christmas Special to come next year.
LF: So what’s next for you?
JPS: I just got finished directing The Human Contract and I just finished doing a TV show that I’m producing and I’ll find out what happens with that in January. It depends. As a family we’re just trying to juggle the schedules.
LF: Are you enjoying it as much behind the camera as in front of it?
JPS: Actually, yes. My whole career is moving towards that direction as far as directing and producing… I’m a much better director right now than I am at producing. I’m getting there. I just did The Secret Life Of Bees as well.
LF: Did you have any problems revealing your darker side in The Human Contract?
JPS: Oh it’s dark! It’s very dark. And I think because of the content it’s a very difficult thing to be had in the States, you know? Because of what I’m known to be. But in Europe, they’re eating it up. It’s been a very interesting road and Paz Vega is just wonderful and Jason Clarke – he just starred in Michael Mann’s new film with Johnny Depp, so I’m sure you guys will be hearing of him. It’s probably one of the projects that I’ve done that I’m most proud of besides the production of my family.
LF: What are the films and TV series that you watch to relax and switch off… Can you switch off?
LF: Were you always a fan of Fresh Prince?
JPS: No. I’m probably the only black actress that never appeared on that show! He asked me several times and I was like, “Uh-uh”. I auditioned when I was 19, when it first came on air and they told me I was too short, and I vowed I would never do it again. I knew that there would be a day that they would beg me to be on that show. That day came and I told Will, “You’ll never have me.” And then in real life, he got me for a lifetime.
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