×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Will Smith on Tom Rothman Email: ‘Everybody Disses My Kids’

The emerging narrative over Tom Rothman’s ascension at Sony Pictures Entertainment focuses on his many blockbuster successes, with a subtext about bad-Tom, the boss who alienates producers and talent. Didn’t an email divulged in last November’s Sony computer hack confirm it? There was Rothman, strafing the children of a top star, Will Smith, after the kids went all space-cadet in an interview with the New York Times.

But wait a minute.

It turns out Rothman’s dig at the Smith kids — Jaden and Willow — which would have hardly rated a mention in the snark frenzy that enveloped the kids — also didn’t faze Papa Smith.

“Everybody disses my kids,” Smith said Tuesday with an outsized chuckle. “To me, that’s just part of the business. And somebody’s email is private, you know? So I would never hold anybody responsible for something they said in a private email. I shouldn’t even know about it.”

Smith made the remarks outside the Tuesday night premiere of “Focus,” the conman thriller in which he stars with Margot Robbie.

The kerfuffle over Rothman and the Smith kids, Jaden and Willow, stemmed from a November interview in which the the teenage entertainers shared their ethereal worldview with the New York Times style magazine. (Willow Smith on themes in her music: “This is a fragment of a holographic reality that a higher consciousness made.” Jaden: “Your mind has a duality to it. . . . When you think about an apple, you also think about the opposite of an apple.”)

Rothman forwarded a link to the Jaden-Willow chatter to other Sony executives, including Doug Belgrad, the president of the studio’s Motion Picture Group. Rothman told the other execs to read the piece, adding: “they r home schooled: don’t let this family date your movies!!!”

Given that assessments of the interview on social media ranged from “nuts,” to “bizarre,” to “Zen jibberish,” Rothman’s assessment now sounds relatively mild.

Will Smith suggested this week that one email won’t change his relationship with Rothman or Sony, which is home to the actor’s production company, Overbrook Entertainment.

“I worked with Tom [when he was head of Fox Filmed Entertainment.] ,” the star said outside Hollywood’s TCL Chinese Theatre. “We did ‘Independence Day’ together. We did ‘I, Robot.’ I’ve worked with Tom a lot.”

He gave no indication that would change any time soon.

 

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • The Plague Season 2 Spanish TV

    Telefonica, Atresmedia to Create Content Factory Behemoth

    SAN SEBASTIAN  — In a game-changing move for Spanish-language production Telefonica, Europe’s third biggest telco, and Atresmedia, the original co-creators of “La Casa de Papel,” are uniting to create a new joint contents production giant. Aimed at gaining more scale and uniting talent relations – writers, directors and producers – the 50/50 joint venture will [...]

  • Media Company Formed Through Merger Given

    KKR-Backed German Media Conglomerate Takes the Name Leonine

    The KKR-backed German media company formed through the merger of Tele München Group, Universum Film, i&u TV, and Wiedemann & Berg Film has been given the name Leonine, it was revealed Friday. Fred Kogel, CEO of Leonine, said: “When choosing the new brand as our company name, the following aspects were decisive for us: it [...]

  • Scattered Night

    San Sebastian New Directors Jihyoung Lee and Kim Sol Talk ‘Scattered Night’

    After taking the Korean Competition Grand Prize and the best acting award (Moon Seung-a) at the Jeonju Intl. Film Festival, “Scattered Night” now heads to San Sebastian’s New Directors selection. An intimate portrayal of a family whose members are deeply isolated from one another, the film follows two parents overwhelmed by their responsibilities, their own [...]

  • Johnnie To Quits Taiwan Golden Horse

    Johnnie To Quits Golden Horse Awards as China Builds Pressure

    Leading Hong Kong film maker Johnnie To has dropped out of the Golden Horse Awards, where he was set to be president of the jury deciding the prize winners. The awards, which take place and are organized from Taiwan, have long been considered the most prestigious prized in Chinese-language cinema. However they are currently under [...]

  • Zeroville

    Film Review: 'Zeroville'

    I’m tired of hearing how some novels are “impossible to adapt.” Balderdash! Just because some books don’t lend themselves to being translated from page to screen doesn’t mean that the attempt ought not to be made. Just ask James Franco, who’s shown a speed freak’s determination to tackle some of the unlikeliest literary adaptations of [...]

  • Red Penguins review

    Toronto Film Review: 'Red Penguins'

    “Red Penguins” is a cautionary tale with particular resonance in the context of our current bizarre intertwining with Russia, the country that interfered in the last U.S. presidential election and is led by the POTUS’ apparent BFF. This wild tale of attempted transnational commerce just after the demise of the USSR in the 1990s chronicles [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content