Will Smith says he understands if people are not ready to watch his next movie, Emancipation, due to his actions at the Oscars.
The movie is based on true events and tells the story of a slave during the American Civil War named Peter, who escapes a Louisiana plantation and makes his way north to join the Union Army.
Smith has largely been out of the public eye since the Academy Awards when he made headlines around the world by going on stage and slapping host Chris Rock across the face after the comedian made jokes about his wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith.
The actor has released an apology video to his fans and to Rock, but it received a mixed response.
Rock, in particular, was not impressed, and has accused Smith of playing the victim in some of his stand-up shows since the incident.
In May of 2022, the release of Emancipation was delayed until 2023, and many critics believed this was due to the negative publicity surrounding Smith.
However, it was eventually confirmed that the movie would be released in cinemas and streaming on Apple TV + in December of 2022.
Smith hopes that his actions at the Oscars don't impact the work done on the movie, particularly that of director Antoine Fuqua.
“I completely understand – if someone is not ready, I would absolutely respect that and allow them their space to not be ready,” he said when asked about people not wanting to see him on the silver screen just yet.
“My deepest concern is my team – Antoine has done what I think is the greatest work of his entire career.”
“The people on this team have done some of the best work of their entire careers, and my deepest hope is that my actions don’t penalise my team.
“At this point, that’s what I’m working for. I’m hoping that the material – the power of the film, the timeliness of the story – I’m hoping that the good that can be done would open people’s hearts at a minimum to see and recognise and support the incredible artists in and around this film.”
Action / Thriller
2022 • 132 minutes