Will Smith Says Latest Real-Life Project Is Beyond Music and Movies

Just when you think Will Smith can’t get any bigger, he finds another way. First he went from hit rapper to actor. Then he went from TV star to blockbuster movie star. He even bungee jumped over the Grand Canyon to celebrate his 50th birthday, but he wasn’t done yet. Smith teamed up with National Geographic for the upcoming series Welcome to Earth

Will Smith headshot for National Geographic
Will Smith | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

National Geographic announced the series, named after Smith’s famous line from Independence Day, to the Television Critics Association on Aug. 18. Smith will explore remote places on the earth with expert explorers from deep sea divers to mountain climbers. Executive Producer Jane Root was on the Zoom panel with the explorers to discuss Smith’s commitment to Welcome to Earth.

Will Smith said something profound about ‘Welcome to Earth’

Smith himself was not part of the Zoom panel. However, Root recalled what Smith told her when they produced Welcome to Earth.

“I’ll tell you one thing that Will said,” Root said. “He said that there’s literally nothing on Earth that has meant this much to him. He says it’s beyond music, it’s beyond movies, it’s just that incredible spectacular thing. And I think for him that it’s the other side of fear. He recognizes that fear and he’s prepared to get through that and then, just have an amazing awe. He really, really went there.”

Will Smith’s National Geographic series gave him perspective 

Marine biologist Diva Amon took Smith deep sea diving. Amon saw firsthand how the ocean turned Smith from Big Willie Style into a humble earthling.

Will Smith in a white jacket at Milan fashion week
Will Smith | Stefania D’Alessandro/Getty Images

“Any dive into the deep ocean is an exciting and nerve-racking experience,” Amon said. “And diving with Will really meant that those feelings were amplified. Especially for a scientist, this kind of thing doesn’t happen every day, right? But after having spent two days with Will in the Bahamas, there was this real rollercoaster of emotions that we both went on together. When I met him on land, there was this gregarious, charismatic guy, that guy you see on screen. And once we got into the sub and got hoisted over the side and started to descend into the depths of the Bahamas, down to a kilometer deep, it switched like a light, like a flipping of a switch.”

National Geographic will reveal a new side of the Fresh Prince 

Smith has been open about his life outside of movies and music, too. He often talks about his family and his beliefs. However, Amon described the Smith you’ll see when he dives to the bottom of the ocean in Welcome to Earth.

Will Smith on the red carpet for the Salute to Greatness Awards
Will Smith | Paras Griffin/Getty Images

Will suddenly became very quiet and quite fearful, to be honest. And that’s totally understandable, as something myself that I have gone through on some of my first sub dives. But then, once we got to the bottom, there was just this incredible journey that we went on together. He became awestruck, is the only way to describe it. From seeing these staggering white cliffs and these incredible animals that he’s never seen, and of course, this deep-sea firework display like nothing else on the planet. It was really a very intimate experience because unlike a lot of the shoots where it was hundreds of people or a hundred people, this was just three people in a submersible for this shoot.

Diva Amon, Television Critics Association Zoom panel, 8/18/21