Will Smith’s new movie helped him come to terms with his father’s terminal illness.
The 48-year-old actor learned William Carroll Smith had been given just six weeks to live at the same time he received the script for ‘Collateral Beauty’, and he insists it was a "personal and beautiful journey" to play a character dealing with a personal tragedy while going through similar struggles in his real life.
He said: "I got the screenplay right when my father was diagnosed, so I’m doing all of this research about a guy who experiences death at the time that my father was given 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.
"My father and I were sharing it during that time, so the performance for me, and the movie for me, and the ideas are so deeply personal.
"This film for me is the most personal and beautiful journey. When art and life comes together in that way and when you create something that could potentially help people get through difficult times, it’s fantastic."
Will’s father passed away a month ago – living longer than his original prognosis – and the actor hopes it can offer comfort to others in a similar situation.
He told talk show host Ellen DeGeneres: "I hope you all see it, and I hope you love it. And anybody who needs it — I hope it really is able to do for you what it was able to do for my father and I."
Elsewhere on the programme, the ‘Men In Black’ star – who has son Trey, 24, from a past relationship and kids Jaden, 18, and Willow, 16, with wife Jada Pinkett Smith – claimed he has had an unwanted visitor to his home, a lion.
Asked by Ellen how to deal with the wild animal, he explained "You immediately put the kids on punishment, you call the ranger, and the ranger comes out and says you have a lion.
"You have to buy lion urine, and he just happened to have some. Lion urine is $38.99 a gallon. They sprinkle the lion urine in a circle around your house, and apparently that keeps the lions away."
But Will admitted he had other ideas in mind for what he wanted to happen with the big cat.
He quipped: "I thought he should have at least been able to relocate it to Denzel [Washington]’s house!"