News for 12/23/2006

The following article appeared in the August 14, 2006 issue of People Magazine

News for 12/13/2006

Pinkett Smith Donates $1 Million to Alma Mater

Actress wants to honor her late rapper friend

Jada Pinkett Smith, whose husband Will Smith stars in "The Pursuit of Happyness," is spreading some happiness of her own.

The actress has donated $1 million to the Baltimore School for the Arts in honor of her late friend Tupac Shakur, report news sources. Both Pinkett Smith and Shakur were classmates together at the school.

"It means a lot when you're a teacher and your most famous alumnus comes back to give a donation," says Donald Hicken, the actress' former theater instructor and the head of the school's theater department. "It really says a lot to the community that the school matters in people's lives."

Although she wanted the new theater named for Shakur, the school plans to name it for Pinkett Smith. The funds will mainly be used for renovation and expansion. The Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation has previously given $112,500 to the school.

Rapper Shakur died in 1996 in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas.

"Happyness" opens in theaters nationwide on Friday, Dec. 15. Pinkett Smith and her husband also currently have script commitments for sitcoms at the CW and ABC.

Pinkett Smith, 35, has appeared in "Menace II Society," "The Nutty Professor" remake, "Bamboozled," "Ali," the second and third "Matrix" films, "Collateral" and "Madagascar." Her 9/11 drama "Reign O'er Me" will hit theaters in spring 2007.

News for 12/10/2006

The following article appeared in the August 2006 issue of Redbook Magazine

News for 11/29/2006

Smiths Bring Laughs to the CW, ABC

Comedies about divorcees and challenging marriages

"All of Us" executive producers Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith intend to bring two other comedies to the small screen.

The celebrity couple has set up comedy projects at the CW and ABC, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

At the fledgling CW, the project conceived by Pinkett Smith will center on a group of divorced mothers living in the same apartment complex, told from the point of a view of a security guard. The stories will revolve around the women's romances coupled with the responsiblities of being mothers.

"It's about making lunch and making love," says writer Randi Mayem Singer, the creator of "Jack & Jill." "Single moms are nothing new, but it was the idea to set it in one of these communities that made it cohesive to me. The [apartment] development will be a character in the show in the way that New York City was a character in 'Sex and the City.'"

Both this project and the one at ABC have received script commitments.

Over on ABC, the comedy project centers on the odd-couple pairing of a conservative, upper-class black man married to a liberal, lower-middle-class Jewish woman. Their lives are further complicated by their rambunctious twins and their respective mothers-in-law who move in with them.

"All of Us" co-creator Betsy Borns will write the untitled project.

Smith next stars with his son Jaden in "The Pursuit of Happyness," which opens nationwide on Friday, Dec. 15. Pinkett Smith's 9/11 drama "Reign O'er Me" will hit theaters in spring 2007.

News for 7/5/2006

The following article appeared in the May 2006 issue of Essence Magazine

News for 2/23/2006

Jada Pinkett Smith: Mom, movie star, rock 'n' roller

By Karen Thomas

Jada Pinkett Smith rocks. Really rocks. The Collateral star and wife of Will Smith is lead singer/lyricist of Wicked Wisdom, a band that has gone from the L.A. club scene to second stage at Ozzfest 2005. Its self-titled first album hit stores this week with a sound described as a fusion of rock, speed metal and funk. Pinkett Smith, 34, a fan of Metallica, says her band has been her "pursuit for about five years and another chapter in my life."

USA TODAY catches up with her:

Q: Your celebrity seems to be the biggest barrier to winning over the heavy-metal crowd. What's that battle like?

A: It is a big obstacle, especially in this genre where people take the music very seriously. The last thing people want is some celebrity doing it as a hobby and playing around.

Q: Opening for Britney Spears in 2004 didn't really help endear you to metal heads, did it?

A: It was a turning point for us. (Adds lead guitarist Pocket Honore: "With the whole Britney Spears thing, we said, 'Is this what we really want to do?' We took a step back. It was a good tour, we made fans with pop/rock, but now the band is a lot more aggressive and we're pretty happy with it.")

Q: Ozzy Osbourne's decision to include Wicked Wisdom at Ozzfest enraged metal fans. Did you win them over?

A: We just had to go out there and show them what we had. It was difficult for fans to reconcile it; no one knew I had a band, much less a metal band. With each show, we would turn fans around, and word-of-mouth got better.

Q:Does it get lonely on the road without the family (daughter Willow, 5, son Jaden, 7, and Trey, 13, Will Smith's son from a previous marriage)?

A: Most of the time, they're on the road with me. Will comes in and out. He was just home with them for about a week, while they finished a project for their home-schooling curriculum. This would be impossible if my kids didn't enjoy being on that bus with me.

Q: What is Will letting those kids get away with that Mom doesn't approve of?

A: Everything. They're not supposed to watch TV during the school week, but he lets them. I call home at 10:30 p.m., and Jaden says, "Daddy said I could stay up with Trey." Will has to parent the way he feels he needs to parent. When Mommy comes home, it's a different ballgame.

Q: What's with the onstage Jada and the wild hair?

A: You've got to let the wild lady live! There's who I am on the red carpet, and who I am on stage — the screaming banshee!

Q:Are you done with the red carpet and movies?

A: Never. That's a part of who I am, too. I'm about to do a film (Reign O'er Me) with (director) Mike Binder, and starring Adam Sandler and Don Cheadle.

Q: And the red carpet?

A: Oh, we'll be at the Oscars (March 5). I don't know what I'm going to wear!

Three Actors Parade on Sandler's 'Reign'

LOS ANGELES (Zap2it.com)- Mike Binder has recruited a trio of thespians to co-star with Adam Sandler in the post-9/11 drama "Reign O'er Me."

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Saffron Burrows, Jada Pinkett Smith and Liv Tyler are in final negotiations to join the Columbia feature, which also stars Don Cheadle.

Sandler plays a man who lost his family in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Still grieving years later, he reunites with a college buddy (Cheadle), who just happens to be a helpful psychiatrist. Tyler will play a fellow psychiatrist, while Burrows will play one of Cheadle's patients. Smith will play Cheadle's character's wife.

Smith's most recent credits include vocal work on "Madagascar" and a supporting role in "Collateral." Tyler was last seen in 2004's "Jersey Girl" and in the three "Lord of the Rings" movies.

Burrows' resume features "Frida," "Troy" and the upcoming "Klimt."

News for 6/20/2005

The following interview appeared in the May 23, 2005 issue of Time Magazine

The following article appeared in the May 2005 issue of InStyle Magazine

News for 4/12/2005

Pinkett Smith Lands No. 2 Kiddie Best Seller

LOS ANGELES (Zap2it.com) - Will Smith may be the rapper in the family, but wife-actress Jada Pinkett Smith is no slouch in the rhyming department.

Children's book publisher Scholastic announced on Monday, April 11 that the 33-year-old starlet will debut her picture book "Girls Hold Up This World" in second place on the New York Times children's best seller list.

Accompanied by Donyell Kennedy-McCullough's photographs, the book features inspiring and empowering poems by Pinkett Smith that relate how girls can use their talents, strength and compassion to make the world a better place.

The book is likely to be a favorite for the imminent Mother's Day celebration in May. Pinkett Smith is the mother of Trey, Jaden and Willow with husband Will Smith, whose own picture book "Just the Two of Us" also sold well.

Pinkett Smith's film credits include "The Nutty Professor," "Set It Off," "Scream 2," "Woo," "Ali," the latter two "Matrix" installments and "Collateral." She next will be heard as the voice of Gloria the hippo in the DreamWorks animated adventure "Madagascar," which will be released Friday, May 27.

News for 2/21/2005

The following article appeared in the February 2005 issue of Essence Magazine

The following article appeared in the February 2005 issue of InStyle Magazine

News for 9/30/2004

The following interview appears in the September 2004 issue of Ebony Magazine

News for 9/13/2004

The following article appeared in the August 2004 issue of Upscale Magazine

News for 9/8/2003

Pinkett Smith Cruising with 'Collateral'

By Chris Gardner and Zorianna Kit

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Jada Pinkett Smith is in negotiations to jump into "Collateral," a Tom Cruise thriller set to begin shooting next month.

Cruise plays a contract killer who forces a taxicab driver (Jamie Foxx) to chauffeur him around on a series of hits. Pinkett Smith will star as the love interest of Foxx's character. Val Kilmer also recently signed onto the project, playing a detective on Cruise's heels. Irma Hall rounds out the cast as the mother of Foxx's character.

Dates are still being worked out for the "Matrix Reloaded" actress to join the DreamWorks Pictures/Paramount Pictures, which is being directed by Michael Mann.

She returns to theaters in November with "The Matrix: Revolutions." Her credits include "Ali" and "The Nutty Professor."

News for 7/23/2003

'All of Us' includes Will, Jada

By Gary Levin

LOS ANGELES — Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith say their new UPN family sitcom, All of Us, which is touted as an autobiographical series, is "very, very loosely" based on their life.

The Hollywood power couple is producing the comedy, which stars Duane Martin as a reporter who juggles relationships with his ex-wife who dumped him, his 5-year-old son and his new fiancée. It airs Tuesdays starting this fall.

"It's more about blended families," says Smith, 34, who has two children with Pinkett Smith, Jaden, 5, and Willow, 2. Trey, 10, is from his first marriage.

The fiancée character is a schoolteacher, a path not shared by Pinkett Smith, 31, who got her showbiz start on NBC's Cosby Show spin-off, A Different World.

"The germ of the show will be experiences that we had, like clothes going back and forth" between houses, Smith told TV critics Tuesday. One episode will detail "a big argument about this Sean John jeans suit. We're taking the basis of problems we had and extrapolating them to their only logical conclusions."

Martin got the job playing Robert James — the Smith stand-in — in part because of his long friendship with Smith. "He introduced Jada and I to one another," Smith says. "I said, 'Look, we're in Hollywood. We got to do what white people do — give each other jobs.' "

The couple promise behind-the-scenes "meddling" in the series, which was created and is executive-produced by Betsy Borns, and are happy to have their names used to draw attention to it. But they'll also appear in front of the camera. Smith plans to guest-star in three episodes as ex-wife Neesee's first boyfriend after the couple's divorce.

And Pinkett Smith will show up as Robert's sister, who arrives in town to check up on his new fiancée, Tia (Elise Neal of The Hughleys).

Smith's career also was launched on a sitcom, NBC's Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. So why not consider a full-time return to the small screen?

"They pay me too much money to make movies," says the star of Bad Boys II, which made nearly $47 million last weekend. "My manager would poke my eyes out."

All of Us is one of four comedies added by UPN this fall, along with one action drama. The changes are designed to reverse an 18% ratings slide last season.

The decline was pegged to Enterprise and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which has ended its run. The network is looking to build on its successful franchise of Monday urban comedies by adding a new crop on Tuesday nights and using more multi-ethnic casts to appeal to its target audience of ages 18 to 34.

Other newcomers include a sitcom starring rapper Eve and The Mullets, a series about two inept roofers that UPN likens to Dumb and Dumber but probably will be perceived more along the lines of uninspired Dumb and Dumberer.

"Rome wasn't built in a day," says Leslie Moonves, who oversees both CBS and UPN as president of CBS Television. "We're trying to evolve into a network. Anyone who thinks they can overturn a network in one year only has to look at ABC."

News for 7/12/2003

Pinkett Smith, Latifah in Action-Comedy

By Zorianna Kit

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett Smith are attached to play police detectives in an untitled action-comedy set up at Paramount Pictures.

The plot line for the project is being kept under wraps. A screenwriter is expected to come aboard shortly, with an early winter start date already being eyed.

Pinkett Smith's husband, Will Smith, is on board as a producer via his Overbrook Entertainment banner. She most recently was onscreen in "The Matrix Reloaded" and will be seen in "The Matrix Revolutions" in the fall.

Latifah next shoots a cameo role in MGM's "Barbershop 2" to help establish her own potential franchise in the studio's "Beauty Shop." In the fall, she goes into production on 20th Century Fox's "Taxi."

News for 7/7/2003

The following article appeared in the June/July 2003 issue of Upscale Magazine.

The following article appeared in the June 2003 issue of Essence Magazine.