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Is After Earth actually Will Smith's attempt to make a Scientology movie?

06.03.2013

Will Smith and M. Night Shyamalan were dealt a crushing professional blow with the box office failure of AFTER EARTH. The poorly reviewed movie only grossed $27 million this weekend and looks to be a longshot to make back it's budget of $130 million. Between all of the reviews and critiques of the film came one very interesting theory: AFTER EARTH is actually a movie inspired by Scientology.

The Hollywood Reporter ran a lengthy exploration of the movie from an ex-member of the Church of Scientology, Marc Headley, who found several connections with the religion created by L. Ron Hubbard. There has never been any official word that Will Smith was a member of the church, but speculation has been around for a long time. Headley drew several comparisons including the use of a volcano in the film:

"Then you have the intergalactic overlord Xenu who, in cahoots with the psychiatrists of the universe, imprisoned millions of souls, froze them and then dumped them into -- you guessed it -- Earth’s volcanoes. Of all the places in the galaxy! This is part of the upper-level teachings of Scientology that members only find out about after they’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on Scientology counseling."

While a volcano may not be enough to link AFTER EARTH to Scientology, the use of robotic emotions or the questions that Will Smith's Cypher Raige bombards his son with (akin to Scientology's auditing process).  While AFTER EARTH is not a blatant adaptation like BATTLEFIELD EARTH, the multiple connections makes it hard to ignore this theory.

Take "fear is a choice" which is on the poster and all over the trailers:

"L. Ron Hubbard’s teachings insist that emotions and fear are triggers and are part of the reactive mind," Headley wrote. "Through Scientology, one is supposed to 'rid oneself of your fears.'"

Or Cypher's comment for his son to "be in the present moment":

"Through Scientology training, one learns how to be in 'present time,' or PT as it is commonly referred to by insiders," Headley wrote. "In order to operate as a higher being and be in control over one’s environment, it is considered key that a person exist in present time and not react to the past."

You would think that a film conceived by Will Smith and featuring the actor in a lead role smack dab in the summer would have been a sure fire hit, but the movie just doesn't seem to click beyond a superficial level. Everyone could be reading a lot more into AFTER EARTH than it deserves, but it does beg the question as to whether Scientology can ever break into the mainstream. When Paul Thomas Anderson's THE MASTER was considered a bash at the religion it made headlines online for months. There has not been a peep regarding AFTER EARTH.

AFTER EARTH is now playing.

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3:05PM on 06/03/2013
The real question is. Who cares?
The real question is. Who cares?
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3:17PM on 06/03/2013
No one except xenu
No one except xenu
7:07PM on 06/03/2013
Some people think Scientology is a cult. So spreading propaganda and their beliefs may be an issue for them.
Some people think Scientology is a cult. So spreading propaganda and their beliefs may be an issue for them.
+18
3:52PM on 06/03/2013
I am so happy this movie failed, happy tears
I am so happy this movie failed, happy tears
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+14
4:49PM on 06/03/2013

If so, that's fine

If it was a love letter to Scientology, so be it. It will just be one more movie that I won't see. Not because of its supposed links to an "infamous" religion, but on the basis that the trailers did not sell me on the movie. Will Smith on a desolate Earth post-war and has to battle the elements and monsters to survive; I liked what I heard from this premise the first time I was aware of it, six years ago as I Am Legend. But instead of Will, we get Lil' Smith traversing the Earth in what just
If it was a love letter to Scientology, so be it. It will just be one more movie that I won't see. Not because of its supposed links to an "infamous" religion, but on the basis that the trailers did not sell me on the movie. Will Smith on a desolate Earth post-war and has to battle the elements and monsters to survive; I liked what I heard from this premise the first time I was aware of it, six years ago as I Am Legend. But instead of Will, we get Lil' Smith traversing the Earth in what just appears to be a young adult novel adapted to the screen.

I didn't see it because it didn't look like a movie marketed to me; it screamed teenager in all it's trailers. It's not that I think Jaden is a terrible actor (I've really only seen him in Pursuit of Happiness) or that Will Smith is overrated (I'm not of that opinion), it's just that this movie looked dull and boring. Scientology interwoven throughout the story does not make me and more or less interested in seeing this.
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4:10PM on 06/03/2013
Hm. I don't really buy this. Bypassing fear to become prosperous in life is a theme that has largely defined Will Smith's life and career, as can be seen in many of his interviews. He goes into detail about his philosophies on fear and how it has driven him. Hardly a mindset exclusive to Scientology.
Hm. I don't really buy this. Bypassing fear to become prosperous in life is a theme that has largely defined Will Smith's life and career, as can be seen in many of his interviews. He goes into detail about his philosophies on fear and how it has driven him. Hardly a mindset exclusive to Scientology.
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8:08PM on 06/03/2013

Scientology will never be mainstream

Scientology is majorly on the decline, despite their endless claims to the contrary.
Scientology is majorly on the decline, despite their endless claims to the contrary.
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3:52PM on 06/03/2013
Isn't this old news already. I though it was a known thing. And early reviews all claimed this and Smith's limp boner of a child to be the main problems with the movie.
Isn't this old news already. I though it was a known thing. And early reviews all claimed this and Smith's limp boner of a child to be the main problems with the movie.
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4:21PM on 06/03/2013
I don't get why Will Smith chooses projects like this, Men in Black 3, Seven Pounds and The Pursuit of Happiness and turns down Django Unchaned??!

FYI he turned down Django because he felt the role wasn't big enough.
I don't get why Will Smith chooses projects like this, Men in Black 3, Seven Pounds and The Pursuit of Happiness and turns down Django Unchaned??!

FYI he turned down Django because he felt the role wasn't big enough.
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4:47PM on 06/03/2013
Whatever his reason, I was glad he didn't take the role because there was no way he could have pulled it off. Remember what happened the last time Will played a cowboy?
Whatever his reason, I was glad he didn't take the role because there was no way he could have pulled it off. Remember what happened the last time Will played a cowboy?
5:02PM on 06/03/2013
I think some of you guys will never get over that. Django was good without Will Smith.
I think some of you guys will never get over that. Django was good without Will Smith.
7:06PM on 06/03/2013
I think it was too violent for Smith. This is the guy that said he didn't need to curse in his songs to sell albums.
I think it was too violent for Smith. This is the guy that said he didn't need to curse in his songs to sell albums.
2:34AM on 06/04/2013
And Bad Boys II wasn't a violent movie & he cursed like a sailor? Get your facts straight son.
And Bad Boys II wasn't a violent movie & he cursed like a sailor? Get your facts straight son.
4:20AM on 06/04/2013
@Can Ispeak To Ken: I agree that the film was fine without big willy but the point is he's a fool for turning it down.
@Can Ispeak To Ken: I agree that the film was fine without big willy but the point is he's a fool for turning it down.
6:15PM on 06/04/2013
Scorpio: yeah, he swore a lot in Bad Boys 2, but he ALSO claimed to never swear back when he was selling rap albums. Smokescreen isn't full of shit, Will Smith simply went back on his word. On several occasions. Still, I think Django would've been crossing the line for him. It's not the violence Django takes part in, but the way his violent actions are celebrated that he'd probably have a problem with. Tarantino's heroes are inherently amoral.
Scorpio: yeah, he swore a lot in Bad Boys 2, but he ALSO claimed to never swear back when he was selling rap albums. Smokescreen isn't full of shit, Will Smith simply went back on his word. On several occasions. Still, I think Django would've been crossing the line for him. It's not the violence Django takes part in, but the way his violent actions are celebrated that he'd probably have a problem with. Tarantino's heroes are inherently amoral.
12:52AM on 06/04/2013
First the team up with M. Night Shyamalan, and now this shout-out to Scientology of a movie? That there is potential career suicide for Will Smith.
First the team up with M. Night Shyamalan, and now this shout-out to Scientology of a movie? That there is potential career suicide for Will Smith.
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3:37PM on 06/03/2013
Lol...."fear is a choice". Give me a fucking break.
Lol...."fear is a choice". Give me a fucking break.
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10:18PM on 06/03/2013
The tagline should say "Fear is a choice. This movie will suck". The End.
The tagline should say "Fear is a choice. This movie will suck". The End.
10:22PM on 06/03/2013
Well, at least Will Smith doesn't declare "While you were still learning to SPELL YOUR NAME!!! I was being trained, to CONQUER GALAXIES!!!"
Well, at least Will Smith doesn't declare "While you were still learning to SPELL YOUR NAME!!! I was being trained, to CONQUER GALAXIES!!!"
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9:22PM on 06/04/2013

Here is what After Earth is About

the end of M. Night's carreer. I hate to say it but the studios should have looked at his track record and not taken a gamble with him.
the end of M. Night's carreer. I hate to say it but the studios should have looked at his track record and not taken a gamble with him.
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5:20AM on 06/04/2013

Not a Scientologist

Nor do I have the slightest interest in being one, but guys, come on... pretty ignorant comments going around here. I think this is a huge stretch to say this is a Scientology film, even if there are some very vague connections.

Bottom line is that the movie sucked, and its reasons for sucking had nothing to do with Scientology, Hinduism, Shintoism, Catholicism (which Shymalan is btw), or any religion. It sucked because it was a poorly written, poorly conceived and poorly executed POS, and
Nor do I have the slightest interest in being one, but guys, come on... pretty ignorant comments going around here. I think this is a huge stretch to say this is a Scientology film, even if there are some very vague connections.

Bottom line is that the movie sucked, and its reasons for sucking had nothing to do with Scientology, Hinduism, Shintoism, Catholicism (which Shymalan is btw), or any religion. It sucked because it was a poorly written, poorly conceived and poorly executed POS, and audiences are becoming more and more savvy to this every year. This is why "movie stars" are waning, and there are less and less mega stars commanding mega salaries these days, as audiences want to see good movies regardless of the names attached as they've become wiser to crap being sold to them.
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9:19AM on 06/04/2013

Granny After Earth

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6:20PM on 06/04/2013
Ever since he was rumored to be Scientologist years ago (which I still don't think is true), this kind of thing has been going on. I heard people talking about possible Scientology references in MIB3 for cryin out loud. The fact that this bombed simply made it ripe for easy accusations, since you don't have to worry about having a bunch of people who liked it debunking a ridiculous theory. But Will Smith is going to have this problem for pretty much every sci fi movie he does from now until
Ever since he was rumored to be Scientologist years ago (which I still don't think is true), this kind of thing has been going on. I heard people talking about possible Scientology references in MIB3 for cryin out loud. The fact that this bombed simply made it ripe for easy accusations, since you don't have to worry about having a bunch of people who liked it debunking a ridiculous theory. But Will Smith is going to have this problem for pretty much every sci fi movie he does from now until this rumor dies.
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4:59PM on 06/03/2013
Oh nooo... it's a conspiracy!
Oh nooo... it's a conspiracy!
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6:15PM on 06/04/2013
Ever since he was rumored to be Scientologist years ago (which I still don't think is true), this kind of thing has been going on. I heard people talking about possible Scientology references in MIB3 for cryin out loud. The fact that this bombed simply made it ripe for easy accusations, since you don't have to worry about having a bunch of people who liked it debunking a ridiculous theory. But Will Smith is going to have this problem for pretty much every sci fi movie he does from now until
Ever since he was rumored to be Scientologist years ago (which I still don't think is true), this kind of thing has been going on. I heard people talking about possible Scientology references in MIB3 for cryin out loud. The fact that this bombed simply made it ripe for easy accusations, since you don't have to worry about having a bunch of people who liked it debunking a ridiculous theory. But Will Smith is going to have this problem for pretty much every sci fi movie he does from now until this rumor dies.
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6:10PM on 06/04/2013
Ever since he was rumored to be Scientologist years ago (which I still don't think is true), this kind of thing has been going on. I heard people talking about possible Scientology references in MIB3 for cryin out loud. The fact that this bombed simply made it ripe for easy accusations, since you don't have to worry about having a bunch of people who liked it debunking a ridiculous theory. But Will Smith is going to have this problem for pretty much every sci fi movie he does from now until
Ever since he was rumored to be Scientologist years ago (which I still don't think is true), this kind of thing has been going on. I heard people talking about possible Scientology references in MIB3 for cryin out loud. The fact that this bombed simply made it ripe for easy accusations, since you don't have to worry about having a bunch of people who liked it debunking a ridiculous theory. But Will Smith is going to have this problem for pretty much every sci fi movie he does from now until this rumor dies.
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5:13PM on 06/03/2013
We almost elected a Mormon as president, but you're worried about Scientology? If that's you then please punch yourself in the face.
We almost elected a Mormon as president, but you're worried about Scientology? If that's you then please punch yourself in the face.
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8:10PM on 06/03/2013
Well said. Same shit, different century.
Well said. Same shit, different century.
3:02PM on 06/03/2013
The connections are tenuous at best. I have seen/ heard/ read similar things in other sci-fi media, and I haven't heard anyone running around accusing all of those being about Scientology. Quite a stretch if you ask me.
The connections are tenuous at best. I have seen/ heard/ read similar things in other sci-fi media, and I haven't heard anyone running around accusing all of those being about Scientology. Quite a stretch if you ask me.
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11:20PM on 06/03/2013
Why is this being thumbed down? I am not stating the movie is good or bad, just that I see no real, concrete connections to a specific religion. Weird.
Why is this being thumbed down? I am not stating the movie is good or bad, just that I see no real, concrete connections to a specific religion. Weird.
6:20PM on 06/04/2013
For the record, your opinion appears to align with the majority, so you probably just go unlucky.
For the record, your opinion appears to align with the majority, so you probably just go unlucky.
3:56PM on 06/03/2013

So what?

Fear of Scientology is a choice only if you're glib:-) Hardly worth concerning yourself over such a benign cult.
Fear of Scientology is a choice only if you're glib:-) Hardly worth concerning yourself over such a benign cult.
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4:44PM on 06/03/2013
A benign cult that primarily consist of some of the worlds richest & most powerful people. Money, power, and cult are three things that should never mix together.
A benign cult that primarily consist of some of the worlds richest & most powerful people. Money, power, and cult are three things that should never mix together.
5:09PM on 06/03/2013
Still shouldn't really bother anyone how these people choose to live. Probably less than a million Scientologists in the world.
Still shouldn't really bother anyone how these people choose to live. Probably less than a million Scientologists in the world.
2:49PM on 06/03/2013

It was

Decent this movie. I wouldn't be so bashful with it. It just could of been so much better, if they would of stuck with the alien thingys and all it could of been awesome. It reminded me of red fraction.
Decent this movie. I wouldn't be so bashful with it. It just could of been so much better, if they would of stuck with the alien thingys and all it could of been awesome. It reminded me of red fraction.
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