Will Smith Says ‘Collateral Beauty’ Helped Him Cope with His Dad’s Recent Death

Will Smith opened up about how shooting his new movie, Collateral Beauty, helped him deal with the loss of his father.

“My character, he experiences a loss, and he just, you know, loses it,” the actor told Ellen DeGeneres during an interview for Thursday’s (Dec. 8, 2016) episode. He later revealed he was researching for his role when his father, Willard Carroll Smith, Sr., was told he had six weeks to live.

“But it turned out to be such an amazing thing to have to work through and go through all of this,” he continued. “My father and I were sharing it during that time, so, you know, the performance for me and the movie for me and the ideas are so deeply personal.”

He passed about a month ago, but it was so beautiful to have the opportunity and to share this and to go and not hide from it,” Smith said. “This film for me is the most personal and beautiful journey when art and life come together in that way, and you can create something that can potentially help people get through difficult times.”

“I hope you all see it [the film is out on Dec. 16], and I hope you love it, and anybody who needs it, I hope it really is able to do for you what it has for my father and I,” he added.

Later on the show, Smith revealed that there’s a lion living in his backyard. Watch him tell DeGeneres the hilarious story in the video below!