May 31, 2013 at 9:19 AM ET
In "After Earth," which opens Friday, father and son Will and Jaden Smith play ... a father and son. But from there on out, things are pretty different than their real-life relationship. The film is set in the future, and the Smiths play a seasoned general and his young recruit son who crash-land on an abandoned Earth, meaning Jaden Smith must set out on a dangerous mission to save his father. We're guessing the closest 14-year-old Jaden comes to this kind of thing in real life is when he has to carry a dangerously hot latte to his dad at the Beverly Hills Starbucks.
The Smiths are far from the only father-son entertainers who've worked together -- and many often slip right into their real-life roles, playing dad and child onscreen as well as off. Here are just a few.
Jerry and Ben Stiller
Jerry Stiller was a comic star before son Ben, born in 1965, was even out of diapers. (So was Ben's mom, Jerry's comedy partner, Anne Meara.) Dad and son have traded quips in numerous movies -- perhaps most memorably in "Zoolander." They've played father and son twice, in 1987 comedy "Hot Pursuit" and 20 years later in "The Heartbreak Kid."
Eddie and Wolfgang Van Halen
Here's a rare non-acting duo. Many sons join the family business, but few sons can say their family business is a rock 'n' roll band. Wolfgang Van Halen had music in his blood -- he was even named for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. And in 2006, when he was just 15, he became the bassist for dad Eddie's famed group, Van Halen.
Tom and Colin Hanks
Tom Hanks has his own stellar movie career of course, but in 2008, he played the father of his real-life son, Colin, in the well-reviewed comedy-drama "The Great Buck Howard." In the film, young Hanks defies his dad and quits law school to work with a has-been mentalist (John Malkovich). In real life, we're betting Colin is more likely to follow dad's advice than disregard it.
Kirk, Michael and Cameron Douglas
Kudos to Clan Douglas for pulling off that rarest three-generation film. In the aptly named 2003 film "It Runs in the Family," Kirk Douglas plays the father of real-life son Michael, and Michael plays the father of his real-life son Cameron. And Michael Douglas' own mother, actress Diana Dill, plays his mother. Sadly, the family affair wasn't embraced by critics -- the late Roger Ebert wrote that, "despite its gimmick casting, the movie ultimately goes nowhere."
Kiefer and Donald Sutherland
Kiefer Sutherland started out his career in Neil Simon's 1983 film "Max Dugan Returns," and while his father Donald was also in the movie, they did not play father and son. The two famous Sutherland boys also starred in the 1996 adaptation of John Grisham's "A Time to Kill," though again, not as family members -- the elder Sutherland played a liberal lawyer, the younger a KKK member.
Martin and Charlie Sheen
Charlie Sheen's dad, Martin, was a recurring guest star playing the dad of Charlie's character in the first season of sitcom "Anger Management." His character has now been added as a regular. This isn't the first time the Sheens played father and son -- you may remember them from "Wall Street," when Martin Sheen played the blue-collar union-loyal dad of Charlie's slick yuppie go-getter. Blue Horseshoe loves Anacott Steel!