AMC River East theater in Chicago, my home away from home, was the site of the Red Carpet event for the new film The Karate Kid. Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan stars of the film were the highly anticipated main attraction and were greeted by mobs of cheering fans. A Chinese Street Carnival was the theme, complete with colorful dragons, a karate exhibition stage and a marching drum band. It was the perfect family gathering as the themed environment served to hype the film that fans were treated to after the stars appeared.
Jackie Chan spoke with me about his serious role as the Kung Fu mentor to young Jaden Smith. When I asked him how he prepared for his serious role he replied, “That’s what I wanted to do for a very long time be a true actor. Will Smith believed in me and helped me so much with my dream.” We all know Chan from his comedy roles and this film is a considerable shift for him.
Jaden Smith told me that he learned a valuable lesson while working on the film. “I think that more kids should take karate lessons as it teaches you so much,” Jaden replied. He was very serious and answered my questions in a confident manner as if talking with the press was an every day occurrence. One can’t help but notice the striking resemblance to his famous father who also walked or shall I say jumped and ran on the Red Carpet, high fiving and signing lots of autographs. Will Smith was an unexpected surprise although I surmised that he or Jada would have accompanied their son. He didn’t speak with press but certainly made a statement by his appearance. Will and Jada are producers of the film.
Chicago Bears player Richard Dent and Israel Idonije also walked the carpet and spoke with press. Jackie Chan was presented with a Bears jersey and was totally delighted. The rain held out as fans departed with their treasured signatures that will perhaps be cherished until the next generation comes along and you guessed it, another Karate Kid movie.