Will Smith has said he took a two-year hiatus from acting because he felt he had reached the limits of what he could do with his life.
The actor, who turned 50 in September, admitted he had to retreat from working so he could grow as a person.
He has now made a return to the big screen as the Genie in a live-action version of Aladdin and, speaking after he surprised fans in London’s Leicester Square, he told the Press Association: “I spent those couple of years really learning and growing and expanding.
“I really feel like I got to the ceiling of what I would be able to have and be and do in my life.
“My life had reached what my mind and my education and my emotional intelligence could handle so I felt like I had to really retreat for a minute and grow and now I have new ideas and new beliefs and I’m looking forward to creating new experiences.”
Smith added he was encouraged by his son Jaden, 20, to follow in the footsteps of Robin Williams to take on the role of the Genie, and added: “When a film is truly and deeply based on ideas that sit near my heart, that is always helpful.
“The concepts around Aladdin as a character becoming a man, the concepts around the Genie, giving and helping, these are ideas that I’m excited and proud to go around the world promoting.”
He said he first introduced his children to the original animated film at home, saying: “That Disney magic is real, they talk about it all the time but this is my first Disney film and being inside of it, that energy and the ideas and everything, it really is a powerful emotional core to these movies, that is really rare and unique.”
At an earlier press conference, Smith admitted he was thrilled to be promoting a film he thought was worth seeing.
He said: “It is so nice to be doing this with a good movie. I’ve been in front of most of you with less than spectacular films and the first question is…’How are Jada (Pinkett Smith, his wife) and the kids?’.”
Aladdin is released in UK cinemas on May 22.