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Men in Black 3: Josh Brolin (left), Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones.

Will Smith and Josh Brolin of Men In Black 3

Stars of MEN IN BLACK 3 Reflect On Miracles And
Making A Difference

Written by Kelli Gillespie

There’s more to Men In Black 3 than just aliens and special effects. Not only is there a fabulous element of time travel, which brings Josh Brolin side-by-side with Will Smith, but there are some really deep themes about miracles, truth and giving back. Risen talked with the talented stars of the out-of-this-world comedy.

Risen Magazine: Men In Black 3 boasts a great piece of dialogue stating, “A miracle is something that seems impossible but happens anyway.” It seems like you’ve had such a blessed life, so when have you seen a miracle take place?
Will Smith: I remember my father called me when Independence Day opened. It broke all these box office records. My father was on the East Coast and I in LA, and he calls me – so it was 6 a.m. there, making it 3 o’clock in the morning for me, and he said, “Remember when I told you that there is no such thing as luck? You remember that?” I said, “Yeah Dad.” He said, “Remember when I told you if you work hard you can have anything you want?” I said, “Yeah, Dad I remember.” He said, “Remember when I told you there ain’t no such thing as luck, just as you are, just how hard you work?” I said, “Yeah Dad.” He said, “Man, that’s a bunch of BS. You’re the luckiest jerk I ever met in my life.” I feel like my life has always been like that. I work really hard. I’m very obsessive about what I do, but providence plays a big part.

Risen Magazine: What about you Josh, what miraculous things have you seen take place in your career or life?
Josh Brolin: Look, every job that I get is a miracle to me. It’s a cliché but truly after every movie you, “God, I hope you let me work again. It would be really nice to be able to continue to do this [acting].” And having kids is a miracle. I have older kids now and they are away, so I’m sitting there saying, “I want them back.

Risen Magazine: Will, you do such a great job of giving back and using your influence to bring about change. What encouragement can you give youth to make an impact in their communities and serve at such a young age?
Will Smith: It’s important for me with any project that I do…for instance we filmed in New York and there are always charitable components and elements [for involvement]. It’s hugely important to me, just from my upbringing, to add value any place that I go. My grandmother used to say, “Everything you touch has to be better just because you touched it.” To me, that’s how I live my life.

Risen Magazine: Josh, your parents instilled a strong work ethic in you, what would you say to kids about the importance of making a difference with whatever resources of gifts they have?
Josh Brolin: You tell your kids to go out there and work, go out there and understand the value of a dollar, understand that one person doing something that may seem so minute, has a wake effect. It affects other people. When you see a kid do good, another kid wants to emulate that kid because they see the affirmations that they get from it. It’s pretty cool. My parents did that with me. I was way too young when I started working, I think was completely illegal, but my parents were like, “Go out there man, work.” I said, “Give me five bucks, what are you talking about?” And they said, “No. Work for the five bucks.” And I said, “You have money, I know you do.” They said, “Go work.” So that conversation didn’t last very long. But I learned the value of a dollar and I think it was good. I think it sustained me for a long time.

Risen Magazine: Another nugget of wisdom from the script: “The bittersweet truth is so much better than the nicest of lies.” How do you surround yourself with truth in a place like Hollywood?
Will Smith: I grew up in West Philly, and Jada [Pinkett Smith] grew up in Baltimore, so keeping it real was a big part of both of our upbringings. We really sort of help each other maintain that grounded space because you can get caught up in the fantasy of this world. There’s a distinct American romanticism that Hollywood is the quintessential place of expression, so you just have to be careful to not allow it to get into your heart. It can be in your art, but not live in your heart.

Interview originally published in Risen Magazine, Summer 2012

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