'After Earth' premiere draws thousands to Fort Hood fitness center

By John Miller, III Corps and Fort Hood Public AffairsJune 6, 2013

Will Smith
1 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Movie star and rapper Will Smith performs his hit single "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It" in front of the Fort Hood, Texas, crowd inside Abrams Physical Fitness Center, May 31, before the premiere of "After Earth," a film starring Will and his son, Jaden. (U.S... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Fort Hood fans
2 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A fan holds up a sign of appreciation after Will Smith and his son Jaden took to the stage before the movie premiere of "After Earth" inside the Abrams Physical Fitness Center at Fort Hood, Texas, May 31. Put on by the USO, Will and Jaden answered qu... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Jaden Smith
3 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Jaden Smith, joined on stage by his father, Will, answers a question from a fan in the audience before the premiere of their movie "After Earth" in the Abrams Physical Fitness Center at Fort Hood, Texas, May 31. (U.S. Army photo by Daniel Cernero, II... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT HOOD, Texas -- Performers Jaden and Will Smith joined the USO in honoring Fort Hood's troops and their Families with an "After Earth" special movie screening inside the Abrams Physical Fitness Center here, May 31.

More than 2,000 Soldiers and Family members stood in the Texas sun for hours waiting for the doors to open and claim the best seats possible to see the performers in person. The first to arrive was Alexa Delugo, who had been standing in line since 6 a.m. for the 5 p.m. event.

"It's Will Smith," Delugo said. "You don't see him out and about a lot -- especially in a small town like Killeen."

Thailia Johnson arrived at about noon and was prepared to stay for the entire event. She was saving a spot for her husband, who serves in the 5th Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment.

"I'm here to see Will Smith" Johnson said. "He was the 'Fresh Prince of Bel Air.' He is an amazing actor and his movies are awesome."

Pfc. Kreshonda Smith, 502nd Human Resources Company, had only been in line since about 3 p.m. She was hoping to obtain a picture and possibly an autograph.

"I'm a big fan of Will Smith," she said, "and I think it's really special that they came out to show their movie here."

Once the doors opened, fans saw the fitness center had been transformed into a state-of-the-art sound stage and movie theater. As

Soldiers and Families filled the gym, Will Smith commented on how impressed he was with the enormity of the Great Place.

The father-and-son duo kicked things off by answering a few questions from some excited fans before giving a brief musical performance featuring some of Will Smith's greatest hits.

"This is our first time on the biggest military installation in the free world," Will said. "It's like a real city."

In the movie, Will and Jaden play military characters -- Will a seasoned Soldier and Jaden a young cadet. When asked how they acquired the right feel for playing in a military-styled movie, Will responded, "I grew up in Philadelphia, so the Valley Forge Military Academy is just outside. We had Jaden train with the young cadets there."

"I thought the cadets at Valley Forge were going to rough me up," Jaden jokingly said. "They were like, 'You're just playing, you're just playing us.'"

"It was really great for me, as a parent, for Jaden to get exposed to that, just to get the seriousness of what it means to be connected to the military," Will said. "It's cool and exciting to do in a movie, but to be in the military is a serious commitment to our nation and freedom."

Will Smith's father served in the Air Force, so he is no stranger to the discipline that the military instills. He said that's why he and his family are so thankful for the service and sacrifice of Soldiers.

"Thank you so much," Jaden said to America's service men and women. "You help the world in ways that you can't comprehend."

In "After Earth," a crash landing leaves a father and son stranded on Earth, 1,000 years after cataclysmic event forced humanity to escape. Several evolved animal species now rule the planet and father and son must work together if they want any chance at returning home.

Related Links:

Fort Hood Sentinel

III Corps and Fort Hood