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Will Smith Says He'll 'Completely Understand' If People Don't Watch His New Film After Oscars Slap

Smith's new film 'Emancipation' hits theaters on December 2 before streaming on Apple TV+.

Will Smith
Ruby Wallau/Getty Images

Will Smith's new movie Emancipation is set to hit theaters on December 2 and streaming services on December 9.

The film is based on the true story of a slave—named Peter in the movie—and his excruciating journey north after fleeing a plantation in Louisiana.

This is the latest film by director Antoine Fuqua, who also directed Training Day and Equalizer. Smith referred to Emancipation as Fuqua's "greatest work of his entire career."

However, one thing is looming over the project—the infamous Oscar slap.

This is Smith's first major role since the controversy at the Academy Awards in March when he slapped Chris Rock on stage after Rock made a joke about Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

While Smith is aware of the mixed feelings toward him, he wants the focus to be on the film and the creative team.

He told Fox 5's Kevin McCarthy:

"My deepest concern is my team."
"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."

Addressing the Oscars controversy, Smith said he would "completely understand" if people didn't want to see him in a movie.

He explained:

"I would absolutely respect that and allow them their space to not be ready."

He continued he wants the focus to be on the power of the story instead of his existence in the film.

"At this point, that's what I'm hoping for."
"I'm hoping 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."

You can watch the segment below.

Will Smith discusses Oscars slap with FOX 5's Kevin

Users on Twitter weighed in on the subject.

Many said—in the scheme of Hollywood controversies—the slap is quite minor.

Some claimed they are not yet willing to forgive Smith for his actions.

Many also argued the slap wasn't a big deal, but the platform on which he delivered it was.

Yesterday, Smith told Entertainment Weeklyregarding the matter:

"The only discomfort my heart has around that is that so many people have done spectacular work on this film."
"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."

You can watch the trailer for Emancipation here:

Emancipation Trailer #1 (2022)