Will Smith Heaps Praise on “Brilliant Actress” Dog Co-Star from I Am Legend

The actor fondly recalled his German Shepherd co-star's remarkable skills and revealed he even tried adopting her after filming wrapped.

When it comes to naming his most impressive scene partner, Will Smith doesn’t hesitate – it was the canine star who stole the show in the 2007 post-apocalyptic thriller I Am Legend. In a recent interview, Smith heaped effusive praise on Abbey, the German Shepherd who portrayed his character’s loyal companion Samantha.

“Abbey was a brilliant actress,” Smith reminisced about the dog’s acting prowess. “It was like she spoke English. She literally could understand you – it was the weirdest thing.”

Smith was so impressed by Abbey’s heartbreakingly authentic performance that he even attempted to adopt her after filming concluded. “I tried to adopt Abbey, but she was the breadwinner of her family, and she had to stay,” he explained with a laugh.

The sincere adulation isn’t surprising given one of I Am Legend’s most emotionally gutting sequences required Abbey to believably portray Samantha succumbing to a virulent man-made pathogen. Smith recalled being awestruck watching the dog pull off the wrenching moment.

“There’s this heartbreaking scene where Sam gets infected, and I have to take her out,” he described. “Abbey’s doing that. He trained Abbey to go limp, and I laid her [down]. How do you train a dog to go limp like that? It was like working with a brilliant actress.”

I Am Legend

While Smith has starred alongside many prestigious human actors, he clearly holds Abbey’s natural canine talent in the highest regard. So much so that the actor affectionately paid tribute to his four-legged scene-stealer on National Pet Day this past April with a touching video montage.

Though Abbey ultimately remained with her handlers, Smith may get another chance to collaborate with a doggy diva. He and Michael B. Jordan are attached to produce and star in an upcoming I Am Legend sequel, which Jordan confirms is still in active development.

“I’m really excited to get in front of the camera with [Smith],” Jordan said, adding, “Being somebody that I’ve looked up to for a really long time, to be able to work with Will is something I’m really looking forward to.”

If they do share the screen, perhaps Jordan can learn a thing or two about upstaging human co-stars from the legendary Abbey. After all, when it comes to raw, uninhibited emotive performance, Smith insists few scene partners, human or otherwise, could outshine that brilliant German Shepherd.

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