Fans have seen Will Smith navigate dangerous terrains and perform stunts in his films, but in his most recent project, viewers will watch Smith explore the Earth and face nature’s obstacles.
Smith will be starring in Disney+’s new National Geographic nature series called “Welcome to Earth,” putting his limited outdoors knowledge to the test.
“It’s really difficult to enjoy things if you’re scared,” said Smith “I think the ability to see how beautiful things are is directly connected to your openness to it and fear closes you down.”
Smith will be seen doing things such as diving in an underground lake, rappelling into a live volcano, and crossing a crocodile-infested river in this new six-part series.
The West Philadelphia native admitted he was once afraid of everything and hates water, but will be seen whitewater rafting, rescuing turtles near the Great Barrier Reef, and diving 3,000 in a deep-water submersible.
Smith said this series came to him at a time in his life where he was starting to open up to nature.
“Of course, I got to do it the way I got to do it, and it’s the way National Geographic does it,” he said.
Explorer and engineer, Dr. Albert Lin, said he was surprised at how well Smith controlled his fears when in the face of real danger.
While diving in the underground lake in Namibia, Smith was having trouble with his buoyancy and was seen “dropping at a rate that felt like maybe we wouldn’t see him again.” Luckily, Smith was able to remain calm and see his way out of the situation.
“I respected Will Smith, the actor, before, but now I definitely have grown to truly respect Will Smith, the human being, now,” said Lin.
“This really was a personal journey for him,” added Lin. “He just wanted to know what was on planet Earth and feel it and really push himself.”
The series was produced by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Darren Aronofsky.
“I hope that this becomes a portal for so many people out there to just get a sense of absolutely how incredible our planet is,” said Lin. “The way that the old magazines — the old yellow-bordered magazines — used to do it for a lot of us growing up, I hope this becomes something of that caliber and is meaningful to others. To me, that would feel like mission accomplished.”
In each part of the series, Smith is paired with different experts and starts the day without knowing the plan or destination for the day.
“My job now is to see it and feel it and understand it. You know, it’s making this phase of my life that much more enjoyable and opening me up to wonder and awe in a way that is just absolutely delightful.”
The six-part series is out now and can be streamed on Disney+.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of National Geographic for Disney+