Grand opening of the new Aoyama nightclub
Pirates president and hyper media creator
Maki Nomiya (center) and friends
Network leader Nanbu Torata
producer Nick Wood
Photos courtesy of TAU
Gadget lover Will Smith kicks some serious android ass
in I, Robot
By Chris Betros
Will Smith loves three things with a passionsushi,
gadgetry and Japanese women. The 36-year-old star of I, Robot
was in great form this month on his sixth visit to Japan,
during which he stuffed himself with sushi at breakfast and
dinner, and walked the red carpet at Roppongi Hills with the
likes of the Kano sisters, Yumiko Shaku, Erika Haneda and
This is a really complete film, he says of I,
Robot, a high-tech murder mystery based on the book of short
stories by Isaac Asimov. Its got laughs, drama,
a powerful and intellectual story at its center and the greatest
special effects possible. The year is 2035 and robots
are an integral part of everyday life. Detective Del Spooner
(Smith) doesnt like them and starts getting bad vibes
when one of the more sophisticated models is suspected of
killing a human, which is supposed to be impossible according
to their programming.
Spooner is an old-fashioned cop who still listens to Stevie
Wonder and prefers human interaction any day. Im
the opposite, said Smith. I love technology. I
gotta have the latest, state-of-the-art gadgetry 100 percent
This film looks at the limits of human logic, the parameters
of what distinguishes a human from a robot. Id love
to have a robot, preferably a woman who I could go on long
walks with, or a golf caddy.
I, Robot, which Smith also produced, is yet another in his
list of special effects-laden films. They are really
a long process, he said. In this film, some scenes
are more than 90 percent CGI. Sometimes there is nothing there
but me. The enjoyment comes when you see it all put together
months later. Smith, known for playing happy-go-lucky
guys who save the day, said he has three rules for choosing
projects. It must be a movie that people want to see;
I have to play a character who has problems; and I have to
be naked in the first scene, he joked.
Smith has been so busy with his film career of late that he
has been neglecting his music, which launched him on his showbiz
career as a high school senior. Will we still be listening
to his rap music in the year 2035 like his character does
with Stevie Wonder in I, Robot? Are you kidding? Its
only 2004 and a lot of my music isnt around anymore,
he said ruefully.
What is around him, though, are lots of Japanese women. I
love Japanese women, he gushed. Wait a minute,
I can just see the headline on CNN tonight: Will Smith
goes crazy in Japan, and my wife will see it. Lets
just say I love how respectful Japanese women are of my marriage.
If you ever tune into the K.C. morning show weekdays on 76.1
from 6-10am, you'll hear Catherine Kobayashi presenting
the news and entertainment segments, among other topics. She
also does the Better English with Catherine segment six times
a day on weekdays. Originally from Vancouver, Kobayashi is
a familiar voice (and face), having worked as a lifestyle/cultural
reporter for NHK, an MC on SmaSTATION! with SMAP's
Shingo Katori, an entertainment reporter for TV Asahi and
a columnist for the magazine Sunday Mainichi. She has also
emceed Konishiki's wedding reception and Metropolis'
popular Halloween party for the past few years.
WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO JAPAN?
I used to come on race queen jobs for Formula Nippon during
my summer breaks-yes, I carried an umbrella. I soon
came to realize I didn't know anything about my Japanese
roots (my parents emigrated from Japan) and decided to come
back to experience something different from Vancouver.
WHAT WAS KONISHIKI'S WEDDING RECEPTION LIKE?
Exciting. It was on a huge cruise ship with different themes
on each floor. Sumo wrestlers were there to congratulate him;
many Hawaiian dancers and musicians were performing.
WHO WERE YOUR MOST MEMORABLE INTERVIEWS?
George Lucas; Mamoru Mohri, because he was the first Japanese
to fly aboard the space shuttle; and Britney Spears, because
my youngest sis thought that was "way cool."
TELL US ABOUT YOUR BOOK.
It's called Better English with Catherine (Gakken Publishing).
It will come out on September 28. I tried to keep it a fun
and easy, entertaining read. There's a CD, too.
WHAT'S THE CRAZIEST THING YOU'VE EVER DONE
Cycling from Hiroo to Yokohama with six friends in 39C heat.
WHAT'S THE WEIRDEST THING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED
I fell in between the train and the platform at Shibuya station.
No, I wasn't drunk.
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO CHANGE ABOUT JAPAN?
I love it here, so nothing much
but I might encourage
some people to be less shy. If someone falls between the platform
and train, you can lend a hand. CB