It’s been a little over a month since Will Smith slapped Chris Rock on stage at this year’s Academy Awards after the comedian made a joke at the expense of Smith’s wife , Jada Pinkett Smith . And while the event itself went ahead as planned — and Smith ultimately even won the Oscar for Best Actor (for » King Richard «) — there’s more and more trouble for the Hollywood star after the fact.
The Academy has already given Smith a 10-year Oscar ban (which only affects the event, not the possibility of being nominated for an award). And little by little, more and more film projects are being affected. After Bad Boys 4 and Netflix action Fast & Loose and a new nature docuseries were shelved on Disney+ (and the Netflix sequel Bright 2 was canceled entirely, though that’s supposedly nothing should have had to do with the slap scandal), the next Smith film has now also been hit:
The highly-anticipated slavery thriller drama Emancipation will now be released on the streaming service Apple TV+ (and in select cinemas) in 2023 , although it was filmed in 2021. So far, the film was scheduled for a release in 2022, just in time for the next award season.
Does Smith slap grow grass in time?
As the industry journal Variety reports, the Oscar slap is only one of the reasons (albeit a significant one) for the postponement of «Emancipation». Due to delays due to the relocation of production, the destruction caused by Hurricane Ida and the corona pandemic, director Antoine Fuqua is still in the middle of post-production anyway. In addition, the Apple schedule for 2022 is already very packed.
The strategy for the upcoming Smith projects seems clear: instead of canceling them completely, they are first put on the back burner – in the hope that grass will ultimately grow over Smith’s physical attack on Chris Rock and a new film with the Oscar winner then no longer triggers (too big) controversies.
Apple has promised a lot from “Emancipation” in particular, which is why it shouldn’t be an option to drop the film completely. Not only did the company spend a lot of money on the project in a bidding war, but it was also considered a big new prestige project and another potential Oscar role for Smith, who plays a 19th-century slave on the nerve-wracking Escape from a plantation fighting for his survival. However, the latter should now be very questionable, no matter when «Emancipation» finally appears.
Those Will Smith projects have already been shelved