Compiled by: Jack Foley
Q. Will's talked about, so how was the kiss for you?
A. Um, I'm sure Jada's a little bit worried at this point,
I will say that. I'm not a gay man but I get it now; I get what
all the hype is about that's for sure. I guess I'm the envy of
a lot of women and men across the world. It wasn't that bad. It's
weird, because I had a kiss with Amber Valletta and I had a kiss
with Will and oddly enough I minted up more for Will, I was more
worried about him.
Q. Which one required more takes?
A. Unfortunately, Will's. I was so mad at the director
because we got Amber's kiss pretty quickly. And I was very pissed
at him for that.
Q. There was obviously great chemistry between you and
Will, not sexually, but in terms of the buddie movie aspect of
A. I thought we'd get along well and would play well
off each other but you don't know until you're actually doing
it with someone. We were a little friendly before but not that
much. But once we were in there we knew right away because we
were having so much fun in the scenes and playing off each other.
Q. He gives the impression of being quite a generous
performer even though he's a big, big star?
A. That's exactly it. To be able to give me a lot of
the laughs in a lot of these scenes you've got to be secure in
who you are, and that's one thing Will Smith is. He's the biggest
movie star in the world and it just shows you, a lesser star would
have been cutting down my lines as soon as they saw me getting
some laughs, and really taken them for himself. But he wanted
to make the film better and, you know what, to me he's the funniest
thing in those scenes because his reactions are what make me laugh
And so playing off him was just the greatest opportunity; it just
raises your game, it's like playing golf with Tiger Woods. When
you're able to play at his level, he just brings you up, and he
continually pushed me to be funnier, to do more in each scene
and told me how better to attack the scene.
Q. How did the re-writes affect you?
A. Will and I would be working on scenes and re-writing
them. The whole kissing scene was written that day, for instance.
The sun was setting and we had nothing shot yet and I knew the
executives from Sony were flying out and wanted to know what we'd
shot that day, and we hadn't shot anything yet, so we had to get
this quickly done. We wrote that whole scene. It was tough for
Will because, if you notice, in that scene I react a lot, so I
didn't have a lot to memorize, but Will had chunks of dialogue
in that scene that he had to memorise. And you haven't got to
just memorise it, you have to feel it to, you've got to remember
what you're saying and feel what you're saying, so that was another
credit to him that he got all that done.
Q. Have you ever encountered a female version of Albert
in your dating days? If not, what's the worst date you've had?
A. I don't know if I've ever encountered the female version
of me. As far as bad dates, I was always so gun-shy; I remember
one time I was in a club with my buddies and stuff and I finally
approached this woman that I wanted to ask to dance, and so finally
did, and she said 'yes'. I was so happy, so we went up to the
dancefloor, and it was one of those Djs who would spin one song
into another, and I was out there for three songs not knowing
that she had left after the first one [laughs]. My friends were
just cracking up but I was just so into it, spinning around, thinking
I'm so in with this girl. That was devastating for me.
But I think there are a lot of people who can relate to Albert
and his problems.
Q. You met your wife on a blind date, didn't you?
A. I did. I did. When I loved out to LA and I got my
television show, I bought my first house in California and I had
to hire an interior decorator because I had no idea what I was
doing, so she saw that I didn't have time to date and wasn't hooking
up with anybody at all, so she set me up with this beautiful woman,
saying 'she's funny and you guys would be great together'. And
it turned out we were; we hit it off. I didn't have to perform.
Q. You have that great strength that women like in that
you come across as naturally funny?
A. That's always been my defence mechanism growing up
and in any situation - I've always had fun making people laugh.
Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't but ultimately I don't
think I would want to be with somebody who can't laugh and have
Q. At school, were you the guy who was getting into trouble
for creating comedy in class?
A. I really wasn't. I was more the shy guy. I was a jock.
I was into sports and stuff. I was funny around my friends but
I certainly wasn't the class clown.
Q. Where does it come from then?
A. I didn't know what I wanted to do until I was in college.
I went to college for sports management, which I didn't even know
what that was at the time. I just knew I liked sports and management.
But I was just kind of floundering my way through school and trying
to fill up my schedule with classes, and I remember taking a public
speaking class because someone told me it was easy - not thinking
I would ever have to get up there and speak publicly! But I had
to do it and thought 'oh my God', so prepared the speech and had
some comedy in it and that was the first time that I kind of realised,
when I talked to my class, that they'd laughed a little bit and
I loved that feeling.
So when I went home that summer I never even went back to school.
I just got involved in improv groups and stand-up and small community
theatre plays. I just started performing any way I could and that
evolved into stand-up and I never looked back.
Q. It takes a lot of courage
to do stand-up. Did you have any horrendous experiences from audiences?
A. Oh yeah. I think you need to. My first time on-stage,
I did really well. A lot of people would stock the room with friends
and family but I wouldn't do that because I wanted a true reading
of how I would do, and I did actually pretty well. I thought it
was going to be easy. But then I went up the next night with the
same material and just bombed. I remember feeling the sweat roll
down to my lower back and you could literally hear ice melting
- that's how bad I was doing.
And I've had plenty of experiences like that and it's just devastating,
but the more you get over that, get used to it and not be afraid
of that, the audience is like a dog, they can sense fear. They're
not going to laugh unless they feel comfortable with you and know
you feel comfortable with them. So once you can do that and you
have that poise and you feel like you don't care, an audience
will tend to go with you. That's what I've developed over the
Q. Did doing television help?
A. Oh yeah, as far as my stand-up for sure because, you
know, in the beginning it was just going in front of a room who
didn't know who you were, just with their arms folded. Now, they
actually come out to see you.
Q. Did the sporting background come in useful in terms
of getting pumped up beforehand and facing your fear?
A. A little bit, yeah. But you've just got to conquer
it and my career has been a series of... going on the Dave Letterman
show, I was very nervous about that because he was a guy I respected,
and I didn't want to do that. It was the same with The Tonight
Show. You're always nervous about that - going into TV, and then
getting my first film, I was very nervous with Will even though
I knew him. You want to perform well.
Q. How would you compare Will Smith to Ray Romano?
A. They're just different. Ray is a very funny stand-up
and he was great on the sit-com. He's a very talented guy. Will
is just multi-talented. Will is a different breed than all of
us. I've never worked with or met anyone as talented as he is.
He could do anything - if he wanted to do your job I think he
would do it better than you; that's how frustrating he is. He
concentrates on what he wants to do and does it so well that there's
just no limitations to this guy. And he does everything. He started
in music, he conquered that; he did a TV show and did that; he
did film and is at the top of his film game. This guy is scary.
Q. How do you not be over-awed or irritated?
A. It is irritating because he is so good but he took
me under his wing, for some reason, and really worked with me
in this movie and made me better. So it was hard to be upset with
what he was doing, or frustrated. When you get in the scene with
him it just flows, it doesn't seem like you're acting anymore.
Q. Would your own wife identify with some of Albert's
more clumsy characteristics?
A. Yeah, she knows how I am. But I don't hide. There's
nothing to get frustrated about. I'm married, game over. I've
won, it's good. That's the thing. In the dating thing, you've
got to put up this front of who you think you should be and acting
differently; my wife knows me - if I don't get mustard on my shirt
then something's wrong.
Q. You're now at a point where doors are beginning to
open up all over the place. How does TV manifest itself in terms
of your celebrity - when people see you at your local grocery
A. In Los Angeles, it's a little different than anywhere
else because they get so used to it there. When I go to other
cities in the States, it's more of a big event when they see you.
But they come right up to you like they know you. Will said, in
fact, when he did TV people came up to him and said 'Will, Will,
He then did Independence Day and he said people came up to him
and began with 'Mr Smith'. It's such a bigger thing film. But,
you know, I'm flattered anyway it comes - if they're thrilled
to see me, then I'm excited to see them because I know there will
come a day when it's no big deal to them.
Q. And it must be more flattering given the way it's
come, given that you're risen through the ranks from your days
as a stand-up?
A. Oh yeah and I still do stand-up all the time because
I think there's no better experience to have; and on top of that
to have sit-com, where you're actually performing in a play every
week and having that experience of changing things. It's a great
Q. Would you like to move into more dramatic roles?
A. Absolutely. It's all about story. If I respond to
it that way and I really want to do it, if it's good people to
work with, in terms of directors and actors. But the most important
thing is story.
Q. Do you think Albert will be a pin-up/role model for
A. I don't think it's going to sweep the nation, no.
I think that some women like that. Some women like men who can
be themselves; who are goofy and have flaws. That's ok. And I
think all men have flaws, it's just how well you hide them.