“It was a touchy subject” – Why 6-Year-Old Jaden Smith Auditioned Ten Times for ‘Pursuit of Happyness’ With Father Will Smith

Published 07/03/2023, 5:00 PM EDT

via Imago

Jaden Smith has to pursue his role hard before landing The Pursuit of Happyness. At 6 years old, the actor garnered attention for his role, as he and Will Smith were an adorable father-son duo in real life. Needless to say, it turned into one of the biggest movies for both of their careers, but the pathway to that achievement was full of hurdles. And the role didn’t come easily to the younger Smith.

While Smith was already an A-list actor back then, finding young talent to play his son required a lot of research. Even after his real son auditioned, it did not convince the makers of the choice. Jaden managed to overcome those reasons, and his father explained in his memoir, Will, exactly how.

Will Smith explained how Jaden Smith fought the odds to be chosen for Pursuit of Happyness

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When a star gets opportunities, should their children have an easy path? The age-old question of nepotism haunts many, but Jaden Smith found himself on the other side, having to prove himself multiple times. According to Insider, the King Richards actor wrote in his self-titled memoir about how his son auditioned 9 times before bagging the role. The reason? The banner under which the movie was made was afraid of backlash due to possible accusations of nepotism.

Despite Jaden’s acting, makers did not want people to think that he was cast due to his father’s stardom. But this was an actor admired even by icons like Keanu Reeves.

Director Gabriele Muccino went through 500 young boys while resisting the idea of casting the star kid. When Jaden was asked to audition for the tenth time, his mother, Jada Smith, interfered and informed how her son is not available anymore. But by then Muccino could not fathom making the movie without him, and he and Columbia Pictures finally went ahead to put the real-life son and father into reel life.

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The movie won several awards, managing to touch the masses with its beautifully inspiring and emotional. It also managed to have the perfect mixture of personal and professional achievements throughout the story.

What was the Pursuit of Happyness about?

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Chris Gardner wrote the memoir to tell his story of rags to riches, based on which The Pursuit of Happyness was made. Smith played the role of Gardner, whereas Jaden played the role of Christopher. Based on a true story, the characters spend months being homeless. But hard work pays off when the father eventually earns his job as a broker.

This movie certainly sealed a young Jaden’s image as an actor. But all grown up now, he has diverted towards music instead, something he is finding success in.

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What do you think of Jaden Smith’s struggle to get cast in The Pursuit of Happyness? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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Neha Subhash Ghag

1435 articles

Neha Ghag is a prime-time entertainment writer for Netflix Junkie, who has written nearly 1000 articles, immersing herself in pop culture. Writing was not her first choice, but she has now found solace in unraveling the fascinating stories of public figures' personal and professional lives. Neha is a fan of classic hip-hop and psycho thrillers, and she can talk endlessly about Kanye West.

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