Will Smith, 8 months after the Oscars incident: “It was a rage that had been repressed for a long time”

Last night, Will Smith was a guest on “The Daily Show”which is broadcast by Comedy Central, to talk about “Emancipation”his new film, which will be released on Friday in theaters of the USA to then disembark in the grid of Apple TV+. A highly anticipated moment, since Smith’s presence and public statements after the night of March 27, when he took the stage at the Dolby Theater to slap Chris Rock leaving the entire world stunned, there had been very few.

That delivery of the Oscars awards was glory and darkness for the 54-year-old actor. On the one hand, obtaining the statuette for Best Leading Actor for his work in “King Richard: A Winning Family”; on the other, the incident, caused by a joke that the comedian Rock launched from the stage and where he involved Jada Pinkett Smith, actor’s wifewhile presenting the award for Best Documentary. It was a shocking moment that went down in the (disgraceful) history of the famous awards.

Eight months after the fact, Smith felt that he could go back to what happened that night and reflect on it. And he did it sitting at the desk of “The Daily Show” next to the host of the show, Trevor Noah. “It was a horrible night, as you can imagine. It has many nuances and complexities. But at the end of the day, I just got lost, you know? No one knows what another is going through, and I was going through something that night. Not that that justifies my behavior at all… But it was a lot of things. He was the little boy who saw his father hit his mother, you know? All of this came about at that time.. And that’s not who I want to be,” she said, bluntly.

“We just have to be nice to each other,” Smith continued, handkerchief in hand. “It’s hard. I guess what hurt me the most was that I took my heart and made it hard for other people. I understand when they say hurt people hurt people.”

The actor was even more moved when the host commented that anyone can make a mistake and that the fact was shocking because precisely showed a Will Smith that the public knows is not the real one. But anyway, the interpreter did not make any more excuses: “I got lost, I got lost, and I showed a rage that had been suppressed for a long time”, and commented that his 9-year-old nephew (“the sweetest boy”) was waiting for him at home after the ceremony. He “had stayed up late to see his uncle Will his. We were sitting in my kitchen, with him on my lap, holding the Oscar. He suddenly tells me: ‘Why did you hit that man, Uncle Will?’”, a memory that made her bring her handkerchief to her eyes again.


With energy focused on “Emancipation”Smith dedicated the last section of the talk with Noah to praise the work done with his director, Antoine Fuqua (“It is his masterpiece”), as well as that of the entire team. An effort that, as he admitted in a note previously given to the journalist Kevin McCarthy of “Good Day DC”from Fox 5, he fears he will go overboard just because people won’t forgive him for the unfortunate incident with Chris Rock.

“I would absolutely understand and respect that,” he told McCarthy. “But my biggest concern is my team: Antoine (Fuqua) has done what I think is the best job of his entire career, as well as those who accompany him. And my deepest hope is that my actions will not penalize them. That’s what I’m working for.”

As detailed in a Variety note, the film is based on true events and features Smith as the runaway slave who became known to the world as “Whipped Peter” after widely distributed photographs of the keloid scars on her back exposed the extreme brutality of slavery.

“Seeing that image for the first time was one of the things that really excited me to explore in the story, because you see the image, but you don’t know who it is. American slavery was one of the most brutal aspects of human history, it’s hard to fathom the level of cruelty. My daughter asked me, ‘Dad, do we really need another slave movie?’ I said, ‘Daby, I promise you, this is not a slave movie. This is a freedom movie‘”.