This documentary, featured on "The Pursuit of Happyness" DVD, details the translation of Chris Gardner's autobiography from page to screen. It also shines a light on director Gabrielle Muccino's (an Italian) unique directorial perspective, and Will Smith's emotional transformation into Chris Gardner.Written by
This is an unusually informative and unique documentary about the making of The Pursuit of Happiness. Most of it centers on the experiences of Italian filmmaker Gabriele Muccino as he directs one of America's biggest movie stars in a film about the American dream. There is tons of great behind the scenes footage and lots of interesting interviews with Muccino and some of the cast, although it's strange that in some of Will Smith's interview scenes he's out of the costume he's in in the movie and he's wearing this shirt and hat that makes him look exactly like the Fresh Prince. He looks like a punk kid, it's bizarre.
At any rate, we also learn about the technical and location challenges in making the movie, and why Smith wanted to have Muccino, who had never directed a film in America, direct this one. It seems he made a good choice!
It was also interesting to me, as it was watching the movie, to see so many fabulously wealthy people talking about this story of a man struggling on the verge of homelessness. Because of a certain job I had in Los Angeles a couple years ago I'm lucky enough to have been to Will Smith's unbelievable mansion in Calabasas and Producer James Lassiter's slightly less astonishing but still beautiful mansion near downtown LA, and it seems hard for me to believe that they really have the necessary perspective to pull off a story like this.
Nonetheless, I think the movie is incredibly moving and successful in it's intentions, maybe because, as director Muccino mentions, Americans don't really understand the American dream. You need to be a foreigner to really understand it. Whether or not that's exactly true, they have really done something special here.
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