Taipei-Internationally renowned American actor Will Smith on Monday hailed Taipei as the place that fulfilled his lifelong wish to work with Taiwan-born Oscar winning film director Ang Lee.
"Ang Lee has been on my list for most of my adult life (as) someone that I wanted to work with. So Taipei made the dream come true," Smith said at a press conference Monday at a Taipei hotel promoting his new action thriller Gemini Man.
Smith was referring to when he expressed his desire to work with Lee at a press conference in Taipei six years ago, held to promote his 2013 action adventure movie After Earth that he starred in with his son Jaden.
The highly successful "Bad Boys" action star said at that 2013 event that he wanted to work with Lee and asked people to tell the Taiwanese-American director.
Those wishes were finally fulfilled through their collaboration in Gemini Man, and Smith said the new slogan for Taiwan's capital should be "Taipei, the place where dreams come true!"
Lee responded with a laugh, "Yeah, I heard the mating call."
"I was in New York, but it was all over the media and all over the newspapers and I hoped that I would fulfill his dream because the dream (wish) was bilateral," he said.
Lee described Smith as a very talented actor and said having him for Gemini Man was the ideal situation and that their work experience was extraordinary.
Smith returned the praise.
"What makes a great director great in terms of actors is that they know how to push the buttons and flip the emotional switches inside of you," Smith said.
Lee, he said, studies the actors he works with and walks them to the emotional space that he is looking for.
"He (Lee) has a deep comprehension of what makes a human being do what they do," Smith said. "The director is the musician and the actor is the instrument."
Jerry Bruckheimer, producer of Gemini Man, said Lee would whisper words into Smith's ear to stimulate his performance.
"Ang would walk up to Will and whisper three words in his ear and the performance would totally change," Bruckheimer said.
Lee said the technique was used to stimulate the actor, but he did not reveal exactly what he said.
Smith revealed, however, that he and Lee shared a similar relationship with their fathers, and this similarity created a language between the two that helped reinforce their connection.
Gemini Man tells the story of a middle-aged assassin (Smith) being pursued by a younger assassin, whom he discovers is a much younger cloned version of himself.
The film uses motion capture technology that allows Smith's performance as his younger self to be transformed into a completely digitally rendered character.
Gemini Man is the 15th movie Lee has directed, following a number of worldwide hits including Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), Brokeback Mountain (2005) and The Life of Pi (2012), for which he has won Academy Awards.
Gemini Man, which opened in the United States on Oct. 11, is only the second movie to be made using 120 frames per second (fps) technology, a big jump from the industry standard of 24 fps. The first was Lee's 2016 drama history Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk.
Gemini Man will premiere at the Miramar Entertainment Park on Monday.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel