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Will Smith Reflects On How Oscars Controversy May Impact ‘Emancipation’ Turnout

Ahead of his upcoming film dropping, Will Smith is sharing his thoughts on how backlash from his “slapgate” incident with Chris Rock at the 2022 Academy Awards may carry over.

Specifically, Will is speaking on his upcoming role in Emancipation, in which he’ll portray an enslaved man named Peter. The film is set to premiere in theaters this Friday, and Apple TV+ will begin streaming it on Dec. 9.

Smith Lost Sleep Over How He “Potentially Penalized” His Costars

While speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Will Smith revealed that he has “discomfort in [his] heart” when he thinks of how his past actions may have a negative impact on the film’s success.

“The only discomfort my heart has around that is that so many people have done spectacular work on this film. My hope is that my team isn’t penalized at all for my actions…Everyone has done such spectacular work.”

He continued, sharing that—while he’s concerned about the matter—he’s going to ensure that “everyone gets seen in the light that they deserve.”

“I definitely lose a couple winks of sleep every night thinking that I could have potentially penalized my team, but I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that everyone gets seen in the light that they deserve.”

Will Understands People’s Opposition And Reservations

Despite his worries, though, Smith gets why people may not want to see him on the silver screen just yet.

During a sit-down with Kevin McCarthy of FOX 5 DC, he addressed a question regarding what he has to say to those who are wary about supporting the film, as Will stars in a leading role.

The actor started off by saying he understands and respects that some may “not be ready” to enjoy the film.

“I completely understand that. If someone is not ready, I would absolutely respect that and allow them their space to not be ready.”

Will also echoed similar sentiments to his EW interview, as he said that his “deepest concern is for [his] team.”

“My deepest concern is for my team…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 penalize my team.”

He then acknowledged that he hopes the subject matter within Emancipation will lead people to put their feelings for him aside in favor of checking it out.

“I’m hoping that the good that can be done would open people’s hearts, at a minimum, to see and recognize and support the incredible artists in and around this film.”

He’s Apologized To Chris Rock On Numerous Occasions

As the subject directly relates to Will’s slapgate controversy, we should note that he’s expressed remorse multiple times.

The King Richard star spoke out shortly after the incident occurred, calling his behavior “unacceptable and inexcusable.”

He further spoke on the incident back in July through a YouTube video.

Chris seemed indifferent to Will’s upload, though, as he dubbed it a “hostage video” during a comedy show in September.

What do you think about Will Smith’s comments? Additionally, are you planning on watching Emancipation once it comes out?


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