Will Smith “fully understands” if the public avoids his films after the slap of the Oscars | Will Smith

Will Smith says he “fully understands” if audiences aren’t ready to see him on screen as he promotes his first movie since slapping Chris Rock onstage at the Oscars, but he hopes his actions won’t “penalize” the film, which is being released as awards season approaches.

In a TV interview with Fox 5, the actor acknowledged people’s mixed feelings at seeing him star again, ahead of the release of the slavery drama Emancipation, directed by Antoine Fuqua, and Smith’s first major project since the ceremony.

“I fully understand that if someone is not ready”, Smith told Fox 5. “I would absolutely respect that and give them their space to not be ready.

“My biggest concern is my team. Antoine has done what I think is the best job of his entire career… the members of this team have done some of the best work of their entire career, and my deepest hope is that my actions do not penalize my team.

“So at this point, that’s what I’m working for. That’s what I hope. I hope the material, the power of the film, the timeliness of the story – I hope the good that can be done – will at least open people’s hearts to see, recognize and support the amazing artists from and around of this movie.

“I completely understand that if…someone is not ready, I would absolutely respect that and allow them their space to not be ready…My deepest hope is that my actions don't penalize my team.”

Will Smith on audiences who aren't ready to watch his films after Oscars. #GoodDayDC pic.twitter.com/2fc3XaXbMa

— Kevin McCarthy (@KevinMcCarthyTV) November 28, 2022

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“I fully understand that if… someone is not ready, I would absolutely respect that and give them their space to not be ready… My deepest hope is that my actions do not penalize my team. “

Will Smith on the audience not ready to watch his films after the Oscars. #GoodDayDC pic.twitter.com/2fc3XaXbMa

— Kevin McCarthy (@KevinMcCarthyTV) November 28, 2022

Emancipation tells the story of runaway slave Gordon, also known as “Whipped Peter”, who was the subject of famous photographs documenting the scars on his back from the whippings he received. The shocking images were published around the world in 1863, fueling the abolitionist movement.

The film’s release was delayed in May, in part due to concerns over the consequences of Smith’s actions at the Oscars. It will hit US theaters this week before streaming on Apple TV+ starting December 9.

Smith slammed Rock onstage at the 2022 Oscars after the comedian made a joke about his wife’s baldness, in an attack that shocked millions around the world. Later that night, Smith won the Best Actor Oscar for his role in King Richard.

In an interview with Vanity Fair in November, Fuqua said there had been no conversation “about the film not coming out” but that Apple, which is releasing the film, had been “very cautious”.

“My conversation was always, ‘Isn’t 400 years of slavery, of brutality, more important than a bad time?'” he said. “We were in Hollywood, and there were really ugly things that happened, and we saw a lot of people getting awards for doing really nasty things.

“So I think Apple considered all of those things and we discussed a lot of those things. Then a decision was made by the distribution and money people at Apple – and I agree with them. grateful. I’m really grateful.

He called the slap “an unfortunate event, and hopefully we can move on and get over it.”

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