On Six Degrees of Separation, Stockard Channing describes Chemistry as “Very Motherly” with Costar Will Smith

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Even though Stockard Channing & Will Smith didn’t have a romantic relationship, she recalled her co-star from the 1993 movie as “just a sweetheart.”

PHOTO: JAMES MANNING/PA IMAGES VIA GETTY; JASON KEMPIN/WIREIMAGE

Stockard Channing is thinking back on her costaring days with Will Smith with nostalgia.

On The Hollywood Reporter’s It Happens in Hollywood podcast, the 80-year-old actress revealed how she and Smith, who is now 55, clicked right away while filming 1993’s Six Degrees of Divorce.

“I had a strong maternal instinct toward him,” Channing remarked, having been nominated for an Academy Award for her leading role as Ouisa Kittredge in the upcoming movie. “I thought he was great. He was such a darling, so naturally laid back and adorable.

After seeing her in the UK stage production of Six Degrees, Channing was taken to dinner by Smith and filmmaker Fred Schepisi, who she said had “genuine charm & a lovely tenderness about” them from the first moment they met.

PHOTO: EVERETT

Smith played Paul, a con man who meddles in the affairs of a the upper region East Side a couple (Channing and Donald Trump Sutherland) in the Six Degrees screen adaptation, one of his first significant film roles following his success with DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Princess and the long-running sitcom Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

“His music, or even new Prince, brought in a lot of money,” Channing said to The Hollywood Reporter. However, in regards to her, “there was no ‘big shot’ stuff at all.”

Channing continued, “His real survival instinct was perfect for the part.”

Six Degrees, written by Peter Guare from his popular Broadway drama of the same name (starring Channing with Courtenay B. Vance), was based on the true story of scam David Hampton, who deceived wealthy families into believing he was Sidney Poitier’s son. Bruce Davison, Mary Beth Hurt, Ian McKellen, and Heather Graham costarred in the 1993 movie.

PHOTO: EVERETT

There was nothing [romantic] between myself and him, Smith emphasized when questioned about his claim in his 2021 book Will and interviews that he had fallen in adore with Channing while filming.

In his memoir, the King Richard Oscars winner stated that his first marriage to Sheree Zampino “was off with a rocky start” at the time. He said, “I found myself terribly wanting to go see and talk to Stockard after wrapping Six Degrees.”

In 2015, Smith told Esquire, “I had a taste immediately in the risks of going overboard for a character.” After the film ended, I went home and couldn’t wait to meet Stockard. I thought, “Oh no!” How did I get here?

Channing will next be seen in Knuckles, after making appearances on instances of Julie and Maryland. In Poor Boys: Ride or Die, which opens in theaters on June 7, Smith will next rejoin with Martin Lawrence.


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