Ever since The Slap Heard ’Round the World, one question has been on the mind of Hollywood insiders: what about Emancipation? Antoine Fuqua’s film was long rumored to be an Oscar vehicle for Will Smith before the Chris Rock assault, but many voters have expressed their reservations about the film in the slap aftermath. (Slap-termath?)
“I completely understand that if someone is not ready, I would absolutely respect that and allow them their space to not be ready,” Smith said in a recent conversation with journalist Kevin McCarthy about people’s reactions to his involvement post-slap. “My deepest concern is my team.”
Naming Fuqua as well as other members of the cast and crew, Smith added, “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. At this point, that’s what I’m working for. That’s what I’m hoping for. 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.”
Apple MacBook Air Laptop
The M1 chip delivers 3.5x faster performance than the previous generation all while using way less power. Get up to 18 hours of battery life.
Fuqua expressed similar sentiments in a Vanity Fair piece earlier this month. “The film to me is bigger than that moment. Four hundred years of slavery is bigger than one moment,” he told the outlet. “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.”
Smith, who produced the film under his Westbrook banner, continued to heap praise on Fuqua, cinematographer Robert Richardson, and co-stars Ben Foster and Charmaine Bingwa in a separate interview with Entertainment Weekly. The actor reiterated that “[the] only discomfort my heart has around that is that so many people have done spectacular work on this film.” He said, “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.”