Will Smith is gearing up for his big comeback moment as the star recently announced that he would be returning to the screen in the upcoming Apple TV movie Emancipation.
The news received a mixed reaction, with many fans welcoming him back while others were still hesitant about their opinion of him after the Oscars incident in March with Chris Rock.
The film’s director, Antoine Fuqua, spoke out in defense of the actor reclaiming his place in the industry with the project.
He expressed that the Oscars moment “didn’t feel real to me at all,” saying that he hadn’t met a “nicer human being” while speaking with Vanity Fair.
“So I saw a different person than that one moment in time,” he continued. “So my reaction was that particular moment is very foreign to me when it comes to Will Smith.
“I have nothing but amazing things to say about Will Smith, really genuinely. You can ask anybody that worked on the movie, they’ll tell you the same.”
Antoine even talked about his relationship with Chris, adding: “I know Chris — Chris is a good guy, too. I’ve spent time with Chris, and I think it’s an unfortunate event and I hope we can move forward and get past it.”
He elaborated on the fact that there were discussions surrounding whether the film would even be released at all, and was grateful for the fact that it eventually went through.
“My conversation was always, ‘Isn’t 400 years of slavery, of brutality, more important than one bad moment?’
“We were in Hollywood, and there’s been some really ugly things that have taken place, and we’ve seen a lot of people get awards that have done some really nasty things.
“So I think Apple considered all those things, and we discussed a lot of those things. Then a decision was made by the people in charge of distribution and the money at Apple — and I’m grateful, I’m really grateful.”
The film releases in theaters on 2 December and then on Apple’s streaming platform on 9 December.