Will Smith “completely” understands if people aren’t ready to watch his new film Emancipation following his Oscars controversy.
The Men in Black actor hit headlines around the world in March when he slapped Chris Rock onstage at the Academy Awards after the comedian made a joke at his wife’s expense.
Will is gearing up to release Emancipation, his first project since the scandal, and he completely respects if people aren’t ready to watch him in a new movie just yet.
“I completely understand – if someone is not ready, I would absolutely respect that and allow them their space to not be ready,” he said to journalist Kevin McCarthy, who posted the clip on Twitter.
However, he hopes his actions don’t take away from the hard work his director Antoine Fuqua and the rest of the cast and crew put into the historical drama.
“My deepest concern is my team – Antoine has done what I think is the greatest work of his entire career,” Will continued. “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.”
He added, “At this point, that’s what I’m working for, that’s what I’m hoping 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.”
Emancipation, in which Will plays an escaped slave, is set to stream on Apple TV+ on 9 December.