Although they haven't previously worked together, "After Earth" director M. Night Shyamalan and his two leading men Will and Jaden Smith have been friends for several years. But Shyamalan revealed that he was slightly discomfited to discover at what an early age Jaden got introduced to his work, especially given the intensity of films like "The Sixth Sense" that helped the filmmaker become one of Hollywood's biggest names.
"The very first time I met Jaden, he was I think 7," Shyamalan told MTV News' Josh Horowitz. "He had a big fro and I went to visit Will at his house. Will said, Jaden, come here and tell Night what you thought of 'The Sixth Sense'. I was like, you let this baby see 'Sixth Sense'? At first I was admonishing him for poor parenting skills."
Perhaps ironically, parenting skills are the underlying subject of Shyamalan's collaboration with the Smiths. In "After Earth," father and son are stranded on the surface of a hostile planet, and Will's character must instruct his son how to deal with the physical and emotional challenges of becoming an adult.
Despite his reservations about Jaden seeing his film, Shyamalan explained that the young man apparently knew his work intimately — so much so, in fact, that he admitted to relating to the main character's biggest problem. "This little kid came up and he was like, I see ghosts too! I was like, of course he's going to see ghosts — he's totally traumatized by this movie when he was inappropriately young!
"I was yelling at Will, but that was my first thing with Jaden," he said, laughing. "When he thought he saw dead people."