Will Smith is not afraid of science. If he were, he probably wouldn't have the career he does. Nor would he have agreed to speak to 300 high school kids at New York City's Hayden Planetarium about science and science fiction. And he definitely wouldn't be able to give a pretty decent explanation of how time-travel paradoxes work.
A small horde of high schoolers who attended a screening of Men in Black 3 were told there would be a "special presentation" afterward—and Smith was that presentation. He then proceeded to field questions about the film from the crowd and one kid wondered whether the whole plot of Men in Black 3 was a paradox. This was Smith's answer:
"That's what we kept running into in trying to decide about time travel. Wait a minute, so you go back in time and you change something, so but what changes in the future? So we went back and we, we did this one thing and what we determined is, you know, in the context of the paradox, it's almost ... because we're thinking of it in terms of a timeline ... is what creates the paradox. And what we discovered is actually it's kind of like a tree, right? It sort of splinters out in thousands of different ways and thousands of possibilities of what could happen instead of a similar time line."
A little stumbly, perhaps, but a pretty sound explanation of movie time travel nonetheless. Not bad for a kid from Philly who used advanced pattern analysis to fashion himself into the biggest movie star in the world.
(Via The Huffington Post)