Collateral Beauty isn’t just an emotional film for Will Smith. In his case, filming the holiday movie came at a very difficult time in his life.
“What was really interesting was that I got the screenplay right when my father was diagnosed,” Smith told Ellen DeGeneres during Thursday’s show. “So I have this screenplay and I’m doing all of this research about a guy who experiences death at a time when my father is given six weeks.”
Smith’s father, Willard Carroll Smith, Sr., passed away in early November, but he lived a total of four months after his diagnosis. While Will didn’t mention what his father was battling with, he was filming Collateral Beauty throughout that time, playing a man who was struggling with a serious loss.
The ever-positive actor kept a smile on his face while talking about the tough time, saying, “But it turned out to be such an amazing thing to have to work through and go through all of this… The performance for me and the movie for me are so deeply personal. He passed about a month ago, but it was so beautiful to have the opportunity and to share this and to go and not hide from it.”
He also kept things light, telling DeGeneres that he had security footage of two lions walking around his backyard in Los Angeles.
“I’m not even saying in my neighborhood, at my house!” he insisted to the doubtful DeGeneres. “We have video cameras and security at my house. That’s a lion, Ellen. You see one of them jokers in Kenya.”
DeGeneres remained skeptical, saying that Smith was confusing a lion and a mountain lion.
“That’s 25 feet from my bed. Look at that thing!” he declared. “I’m asleep right now and I think I’m safe.”
“Well, it does look like you need to landscape better,” the host quipped in response.
The Oscar nominated actor went on to explain that a park ranger came out to his house and sprayed lion urine to trap and tranquilize the animal, to not hurt it.
“I thought he should have at least been able to relocate it to Denzel [Washington’s] house,” Smith joked.
For more of Smith’s funny anecdotes, watch the clip below!