Spending four months in China was the trip of a lifetime, Will says. "China is probably as foreign, where things are done as differently from the United States as they're done in the world," he says. "We had images of China in our mind and we had preconceived notions and ideas about China that bear little to no resemblance to what the real China is."
Watch the Smiths' home video of their trip.
Will and Jada say one of the biggest differences between them as producers was their vision for Jaden. "In my mind, I was teaching my son to hunt," Will says. "When he's making this movie, I'm teaching him how to hunt."
Jada says her natural instinct was to protect her son. "In African tribes, men would come to the village and remove their sons and initiate them into manhood. As a mother, it's an excruciating thing to have to watch. And I'm telling you, that mother instinct kicks in," she says, noting that China doesn't have the same labor restrictions for children as the United States does. "I tell Will: 'I understand there are certain things you're trying to instill in him, but at the end of the day, he's 11,' you know what I mean? So, you know, we had to find a nice balance."
When all was said and done, Jaden returned to the United States a different person, Jada says. "I had a friend over, and he said, look how [Jaden's] walking. Chest up. Confident,'" Jada says. "We can't jump in his body and make him go to rehearsal during lunch and practice. He did that, and he knows he did it. That type of character builds in a person."