Will Smith Explains How I Am Legend Prepared Him For Covid-19 Crisis

I Am Legend's Will Smith faces results of virus on population

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The United States is well into the throes of dealing with new coronavirus Covid-19. Even some celebrities have revealed they have been diagnosed with the disease, including major names like Tom Hanks, Idris Elba, Andy Cohen and Anderson Cooper, among others. Other celebrities are doing what they can to give back, which seems particularly important to Will Smith thanks to his background with the CDC and viruses due to his I Am Legend gig.

Will Smith and his family have recently become famous for sitting down together and discussing important topics on Jada Pinkett Smith’s Red Table Talk. This week, it was all about coronavirus as the family talked about some of the confusing aspects of the disease, as well as the confliction information that’s out there. Will Smith said the topic is really close to his heart, noting:

I wanted to do this because in 2008 I made I Am Legend so I feel responsible for a lot of the misinformation. [Laughs.] Just as a family we’ve been siting down and we’ve been talking. When I was preparing for I Am Legend my character was a virologist so I had an opportunity in my preparation for the role to go to the CDC.

Who knew that signing on for I Am Legend would come up in such an important way more than a decade later? While Will Smith is obviously joking around about the movie’s plot and its lack of real world applications, he did also reveal that this is a topic he’s been interested in and informed about since he did research for the I Am Legend role.

There was a basic foundational comprehension of viruses and viral pathogens that I developed and it really changed my life and how I looked at the world. There’s basic concepts that people do not understand.

The Smith family talked a lot more about the "tug of war" battle humanity is constantly in with viruses. They also had virus expert Dr. Michael Osterholm on the episode to explain some facets of covid-19 crisis and to sort of explore topics in more detail that have been confusing for the Smith family (and presumably others who follow them on Red Table Talk). If you’d like to look into coronavirus specifics, you can watch the full episode on Facebook.

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Meanwhile, I Am Legend – which actually came out at the very tale end of 2007 and stayed in theaters into 2008 – is a well-liked Will Smith movie. It’s about a worst-case scenario in a vampiric-like pandemic that turns people into mutants.

While Will Smith may joke about its scientific probability now, it’s a likable movie and one that was the 7th highest-grossing movie the year it came out, earning over half a billion worldwide. There was even some talk of a sequel, but there didn't seem to be interest from Smith, and that's understandable given the film's ending. Although the director's cut ending is pretty different, a prequel would almost have been more warranted.

In fact, during this quarantined time, if you happen to be interested in movies based on viral outbreaks, it may be one worth checking out as an Amazon rental or elsewhere.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Reality TV fan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. Theme park junkie. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.