Will Smith’s slap of Chris Rock during the 2022 Oscar Awards ceremony will forever go down as one of the most infamous moments in Hollywood history. The mishap landed the actor a ten-year ban from the Academy Awards. It also turned the Fresh Prince into a pariah with many studios choosing to place their projects with him on hold.
For his part, Smith has largely stayed out of sight since the event, presumably so the mishap can pass out of public consciousness.
However, things seem to be getting back on track for the Aladdin star as Netflix is reportedly set to resume production on Fast and Loose.
Netflix originally greenlit the film the month before last year’s Oscar Awards, but shelved it in response to the outrage that ensued following the Oscar debacle.
A source told Variety, "Netflix definitely wasn’t willing to be the first studio to get back into business with Will." This opinion aligns with what a top executive at a major studio told the publication. The executive claims Smith will return to action as a result of one studio deciding to work with him. Sony was the first to step up to the plate and gave him a lifeline when it greenlit Bad Boys 4.
The exec pointed out that Smith’s blacklist by the industry was less about the slap and more about his actions after.
Following the slap, the Men in Black star returned to his seat, accepted his Oscar award for best actor, and then attended the Vanity Fair after party where he sang along to his Grammy Award-winning rap track Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It. This sequence of events demonstrated to the public that the actor was not at the very least remorseful about his actions. This swayed public opinion further against him.
While there isn’t much information on the film, Fast and Loose will chronicle the life of a crime boss, John Riley, who loses his memory following an attack. After he wakes up in Tijuana, the criminal attempts to discover who he is. However, things are not what they seem as he finds out that he led a double life before the attack incident.
Apparently, a wealthy crime boss was one of his two identities with the other one being that of a broke undercover CIA agent.
David Leitch was originally attached to direct the project based on a screenplay by Erich and Jon Hoeber. Unfortunately, a week before the Oscar awards ceremony, the John Wick director dropped the project in favor of working on Fall Guy, the upcoming Universal Pictures action thriller led by Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt. Netflix had put out a call for a new director for the film prior to placing it on hold. At the moment, there is no indication that the streamer has found a replacement.
In the meantime, the victim of Smith’s violence, Chris Rock, revealed in his recently released live-streamed comedy special on Netflix, Selective Outrage, that he's not ready to move on from the incident just yet.
In other news, although unconfirmed by Disney, Smith will reprise his role as the genie in a second installment of Aladdin, which is set to begin production this year. Also, the 2023 Oscar Awards ceremony was held this past weekend. The Michelle Yeoh-led Everything Everywhere All at Once was the night’s big winner with seven wins from eleven nominations.