If Will Smith ever decides to retire from acting, he’s got a future as a globetrotting adventurer. That’s the takeaway from Welcome to Earth, a new National Geographic production starring the box office king, which premieres on Disney+ on Dec. 8. In the six-part series — which cheekily references Smith’s famous Independence Day quip — Smith travels the world alongside expert National Geographic Explorers, from volcanic islands in the Pacific to the seemingly endless dunes of the Namibia Desert.
And sometimes, those travels involve death-defying stunts that would be right at home in one of the King Richard star’s major motion pictures. As an example, check out this Welcome to Earth clip that Yahoo Entertainment is premiering exclusively today. It’s a scene from the fourth episode, “Speed of Life,” in which Smith has to cross a slender cable that spans Africa’s most crocodile-infested river. “Is there a bridge or something?” he hopefully asks his traveling companion — renowned scientist and explorer Albert Lin. Sorry, Will: the only way across is… well, across. (Watch the clip above.)
Lin makes the crossing first to show Smith how it’s done — “There’s no room for error here,” he warns — which gives the actor time to marvel at the explorer’s survival skills. “I sometimes forget about Albert’s leg,” the actor says, referring to Lin’s prosthetic limb. (Lin had his right leg amputated following a 2016 car accident.) “He just moves so well. Of course, his prosthetic leg is as high-tech as everything else about him!”
Once Lin is safely across to river, it’s Smith’s turn to soar above the crocodiles. Attaching himself to the cable, he slowly pulls himself across as his fellow explorer shouts encouragement from the other side. Encouragement… and a daring tease to “Look down!” Smith does indeed look down at the raging waters below him, and his face registers his obvious disbelief at what he’s accomplishing.
Eventually, the novice explorer reaches safety without sustaining any crocodile bites along the way. “That’s a man-tester!” Smith says as he bumps fists with Lin. And to drive home the difference between his real life and reel life, he adds, “In a movie, my stuntman woulda did that.”
As far as Lin is concerned, though, Smith doesn’t need any assistance in the stunt department. “There are no stuntmen in real life,” Lin tells Yahoo Entertainment via email. “Will showed he could step up big-time in a real life expedition to the ends of the earth.” We’d expect nothing less from the guy who invented Big Willie Style.
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Welcome to Earth premieres Dec. 8 on Disney+.