The movie 'I Am Legend' was shot in New York City, which proved to be challenging to both the cast and crew, but also the residents who live there. Actor Will Smith recently spoke about turning the metropolis into a barren no-man's land.
"Shooting in NY, especially something on this level is, um, difficult. I would say percentage wise it is probably the most amount of middle fingers I have ever received in my career. I was starting to think F you was my name."
The filmmakers were able to close blocks of the city at a time.
"We shut down six blocks of six avenue on a Monday morning. That was probably poor planning," Smith laughs. "You realize you have never actually seen an empty shot of NY. It was chilling to walk down the middle of Fifth Avenue. There is never an opportunity to walk down the middle of fifth avenue…it created such a creepy energy. Logistically it was a nightmare, but it absolutely created something that you can't do with green screen or shooting another city for NY."
The film was very much all in the family as Smith had the opportunity to work with his daughter, Willow.
"You kind of don't work with Willow. You work for Willow. With Willow she just loves it. There was a building that had a temperature gage on it and we watched it and you start at sunset and it was twenty-nine degrees out we watched it go down to one degree and negative. Willow is out there and she is all bundled up, but cold and getting irritable and she turns to me and says, 'Daddy I don't care how low it goes I'm going to finish.' I was like wow that's good baby because daddy's leaving if it gets any lower."
How would Smith fair in a real life natural disaster?
"That's always a tough question. That's what is interesting about playing characters like this and you get to explore and wonder how you would react…when I look at Robert Neville. What was there to live for, to hope for, to wake up every day to restore something that is good and gone. I would like to believe that I would fight for the future of humanity, but I would probably find a bridge. It's a tough question. I don't know. You want to be tested to know what you would do, but you really don't want to be tested. That's sort of the space I have lived in with quite a few of the roles I have played."
In the works for Smith are performances with his long time friend and music collaborator DJ Jazzy Jeff in the summer of 2008. He has a film called 'Hancock' coming out with Charlize Theron and is starting on a film in March called 'Seven Pounds' about a man who falls in love with a woman who wants to kill himself. In the meantime we'll have to see if Smith indeed has the Midas touch when 'I Am Legend' opens this Friday, December 14.