Gibbs: Why did you take on the challenge of The Karate Kid?
Smith: Well, I’ve always really been interested in the martial arts. I started taking karate when I was 3. So when my dad mentioned the idea to remake the movie, theres no way I was going to pass that up! And the story is really great. Its inspired by the original film, but different. In this one, I play Dre Parker. He’s a cool kid, but he has to move from his home in Detroit when his mom gets a job in China.
Gibbs: Did you see the original movie before learning about this remake?
Smith: I’ve seen the original Karate Kid and I think its great. I think ours is really great, too, because it has a similar story, but we’re in a different country and there’s a different style of martial arts.
Gibbs: How much time did you spend learning Kung fu?
Smith: I trained a lot! I trained with Master Wu from Jackie Chan’s stunt team for three months before production, and then for four months while we were shooting the film. And im training again right now because I like it so much.
Gibbs: Did your parents give you any advice for this big role?
Smith: Yes, they always give me great advice. My dad tells me to stay true to my character and to stay in the moment.
Gibbs: Did your parents stay on set with you while you filmed the movie?
Smith: My parents were there with me the entire time. Our whole family moved to China for four months to shoot the movie.
Gibbs: Tell me about what it was like to work with Jackie Chan?
Smith: Oh man, Jackie is really cool. Every time that he would come on set, he would say good morning in a different language. He was always teaching me new things, like how to always stretch and do martial arts forms correctly. He would tell me “You need to focus.” and, he’s really fun. We had a great time.