Neil Drumming
December 08, 2006 AT 05:00 AM EST

”Tom Cruise, Eddie Murphy, my mom, my dad — and me.” After witnessing his own understated performance in The Pursuit of Happyness, Jaden Christopher Syre Smith is proud to add himself to his list of favorite actors. ”The best part was when I cried,” says Will Smith’s kid, his naturally sleepy eyes even heavier after an exhausting, gymnastic photo shoot for EW. The 8-year-old showed off a few slick dance moves for the camera, but unlike his father, who started out in music, Jaden is jumping into acting with both feet. His parents love his career choice. ”It would be best for us,” says actress Jada Pinkett Smith, watching her pint-size son clown around with his six-foot-plus pops between shots. ”It’s what we know.” On Happyness, his first feature film, the young Smith took a loose, naturalistic approach, playing each scene according to his mood. It’s a tactic the tiny thespian had to reteach his father. ”You have to just be in the moment,” says Jaden. ”My dad told me to do that — and he wasn’t doing it.”

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