NEW YORK – Will Smith loves to laugh. Big, booming laughter comes as naturally as exhaling and almost as often to the mega-star.
When I sat down with the actor, it was near the end of a very long day of interviews for his new animated film "Shark Tale," but in the New York hotel suite he acted like he was just getting started.
McCuddy: Where are the sharks bigger? Hollywood or in this movie?
Smith: (Laughs) No comment! No comment! That's a 'shark tale.' There are no real sharks in Hollywood. It's a myth. It's a Hollywood myth.
McCuddy: In a bar fight could (Smith's character) Oscar take Nemo?
Smith: Oscar could definitely take Nemo because Oscar has that passion, you know? See, Nemo was struggling, whereas Oscar is certain and confident. (Smith begins shadow boxing) Left fin! Left fin! Right fin over top! It's a wrap.
McCuddy: Nemo is scrappy.
Smith: Nemo's scrappy but Oscar has that, that passion to come up. You know what I mean? Nemo's a little soft.
McCuddy: Could you see an "Alien Vs. Predator" kind of thing?
Smith: (Excited) Yeah! Yeah! "Oscar Vs. Nemo." Now that's hot. That's a good idea. You should pitch that. You should pitch that to DreamWorks.
McCuddy: What's the secret to a long-term Hollywood marriage? You seem to have nailed it so far. (Smith and his wife Jada Pinkett Smith have been married since 1997.)
Smith: So far? (Laughs)
McCuddy: Well, as of 4:05 p.m. on a Sunday.
Smith: I know. (Laughs) We're still together? Whew!
Smith: With us, it's just the hardcore blatant truth. There's no pitter-pattin.' We keep it raw. You know, with all of the distractions, you know, and all of the women, and everything that could potentially get in the way. And the press! You know, 'cause the press is the worst.
McCuddy: (Mock sincerity) No, really?
Smith: (Laughs) There are just so many potential distractions. You gotta tell the truth. That's the only way that you can really, truly know someone.
McCuddy: Are you tempted by all the women?
Smith: How can you not be tempted by Halle [Berry]? (Laughs) You know? Lookin' at Halle and thinking 'Nah, nah, I'm cool.'
McCuddy: Is that why Jada wanted you in animated stuff?
Smith: (Laughs) That's right!
McCuddy:Just sitting in a room by yourself!?
Smith:Right! But you know we are just so beautifully honest with one another. And 'relationship' is not something you find, it's something you build. And what we've built, you're not going to throw it away for, you know ...
McCuddy: Halle Berry?
Smith: (Goofing) Well ... no! (Laughs) You're not going to throw it away for anything.
McCuddy: Let's talk politics. A lot of celebrities are getting involved. Is it going to make a difference?
Smith: Absolutely. I think that Hollywood and the media are two of the most powerful entities of opinion-making in America, in the world. I don't know exactly what the difference is, but there is absolutely a powerful influence. It's not always the influence you want, but there is definitely an adjustment that will be made in people's minds and in people's decisions.
McCuddy: Will it unseat our president?
Smith: Uh ... well, that's not exactly the force of all of Hollywood, you know? There are people that have different points of view, a different perspective. I don't know. I can't predict this one. I think that history says that [Bush] will continue to be president.
McCuddy: What about politics for Will Smith? Ever? Someday?
Smith: You know politics is a dirty game. I like to say what I want to say, and do what I want to do, and if I think something is a bad idea, I'd like to be able to say, 'It's a bad idea,' rather than have a constituency that I have to cater to.
McCuddy: I think we'd like to see Jada as a first lady.
Smith: Jada would be a hot first lady. We stayed in the Lincoln bedroom with Bill Clinton and Hillary.
McCuddy: All four of you together?
Smith: (Laughs) We didn't all sleep in there, but we all stood in the room at one time. So Jada, you know, she wanted to like change the curtains in the Lincoln bedroom. And I'm like, 'Sweetie, you don't understand. You can't change the curtains. That's the whole point.' But there would definitely be some changes if Jada were the first lady.
"Shark Tale" opens Friday, Oct. 1.