When Will Smith charged the stage and slapped Chris Rock at the 94th Academy Awards last Sunday, the film world instantly began speculating about how the altercation would affect the star’s career. While Smith received a standing ovation when he won his first Oscar less than an hour later, it was unclear how much studios and fans would embrace future projects Smith was developing.
The first domino to fall was Smith’s membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The Academy acted first, launching a formal review of Smith’s conduct with expulsion from the prestigious organization on the table as a potential consequence. Smith opted to act first, resigning from the Academy before he could be kicked out and stating that he would accept any other future consequences.
Now, The Hollywood Reporter has reported that Netflix is halting development on “Fast and Loose,” a new film that was set to star Smith as a powerful criminal who loses his memory, only to learn that he was living a double life. “Deadpool 2” director David Leitch was attached to helm the project, but he backed out a week before the Oscars, choosing instead to direct Ryan Gosling in “The Fall Guy.” Sources in the story say that Netflix has paused the project and may ultimately scrap it or move forward with a different director and star, but is wary about working with Smith during the fallout from the Oscars.
While this would be the first instance of Smith losing a project due to his conduct at the Oscars, the report suggests that it is unlikely to be the last. A source said that Sony is also pausing development on “Bad Boys 4,” despite Smith receiving 40 pages of a script before the Oscars, and indicated that some of Smith’s other potential projects are likely to meet the same fate.
Smith’s next film is “Emancipation,” a runaway slave thriller from director Antoine Fuqua. The Apple film is currently in post production and was expected to come out later this year, but there is no word on how Smith’s slap has affected those plans.