Will Smith Hopes His Oscars Slap Doesn't Penalize 'Emancipation' Team as He Braces for Rejection
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While he understands that some people may not be ready for his comeback in the wake of his controversial action, the 'King Richard' star says his 'deepest concern' is the people working on the slave drama.

AceShowbiz - Will Smith "completely" understands if people are not ready for his comeback following his Oscars slap. As he has teamed up with director Antoine Fuqua for upcoming film "Emancipation", the actor braces himself for rejection from people who may decide to skip his new movie.

"I completely understand - if someone is not ready, I would absolutely respect that and allow them their space to not be ready," he told FOX 5 DC reporter Kevin McCarthy when asked what he would say to moviegoers who aren't ready to watch his new movie. He, however, noted, "My deepest concern is my team."

Praising Fuqua's work on the slave drama, Smith claimed, "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." He added that his "deepest hope is that my actions don't penalize my team. At this point, that's what I'm working for."

The Best Actor winner at the 2022 Academy Awards went on highlighting the positive message of his movie, "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 recognize and support the incredible artists in and around this film."

"Emancipation" is based on the true story of Gordon (named Peter in the film), a former slave whose photographs of his bare back, heavily scourged from an overseer's whippings, were published worldwide in 1863, giving the abolitionist movement proof of the cruelty of American slavery.

"Emancipation" marks Smith's first movie release since the 2022 Academy Awards, where he slapped Chris Rock, who was on hand as presenter, on stage in March. Fuqua recently defended the decision to release the movie in the same year as Smith's Oscars slap.

"The film to me is bigger than that moment," the director said in an interview with Vanity Fair earlier this month. "Four hundred years of slavery is bigger than one moment. My hope is that people will see it that way and watch the movie and be swept away with the great performance by Will and all the real hard work that the whole crew did."

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