Even though Will Smith is no longer an Academy member and has been banned from their events for 10 years after slapping Chris Rock, the Oscar-winning actor is still expected to get “flooded with work offers.”
A recent report puts the spotlight on Smith’s career possibilities following his Oscars outburst this past March. During the annual Academy Awards telecast, viewers watched as Smith marched up to the stage where Chris Rock was a presenter and slapped the comedian for a G.I. Jane joke he made about Will’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.
Following the slap, he returned to his seat before shouting at Rock to keep his wife’s name out of his “f**king mouth” before the show moved on.
It later brought several apologies from the actor and consequences for him. It also seemed to propel Rock’s comedy tour while causing movie studios to back away from projects involving Smith. However, according to industry experts, Smith could still get plenty of offers.
Industry expert suggests Smith will be ‘flooded with work offers’
Based on a report from UK’s Mirror, marketing consultant Jeff Kelly believes that even though Smith’s slap was “despicable” and his ban was “justified,” there’s still “strong affection” for Smith in “sections of Hollywood.”
“It appears too easy to write his career off, his fate is a little more complicated,” Kelly said of Smith, suggesting everyone loves a good redemption story.
Even though Smith will likely take some time away from Hollywood and acting, Kelly believes “there will be offers on the table from producers looking to work with him.”
Following his incident at the Oscars, Smith picked up the Best Actor award for his work in King Richard. However, it seemed the damage had been done as he accepted his award in a teary-eyed speech which included apologies to the Academy and others.
A day later, he issued a statement on Instagram in which he apologized to Chris Rock, among others. Smith then resigned as a member of the Academy, which they accepted. Soon after, the Academy announced that Smith was also banned from attending Academy events for 10 years.
Big projects involving Smith halted, actor could return elsewhere
Following Will Smith’s Oscars incident, several projects he was set to appear in went on pause. According to Hollywood Reporter, that included the Netflix film Fast and Loose, which the streaming platform quietly moved to the “back burner” after the Oscars.
It also included Smith’s expected return for a fourth installment in the Bad Boys series. While the series was in “active development” and Smith had received a 40-page script before the Oscars, a source revealed that the Sony project would pause.
One other film that Smith had on the way was Apple TV+’s slave escape drama Emancipation, initially scheduled for a release this year. However, it’s unknown if Apple will change things due to Smith’s Oscars incident making headlines.
With that in mind, several significant projects Smith would have added to his resume seem in jeopardy. It also has likely cut off offers for the foreseeable future for Smith.
However, based on Kelly’s comments, Smith may still have a few options if and when he chooses to return. One of those would be small-budget action films, something many well-known actors have turned to in their careers, including John Travolta and Bruce Willis.
“Smaller budget companies will want to bring him on board to make movies, most likely in the action genre, using his name and cache, which they believe audiences still value,” Kelly said, adding Smith would want to time his return for when movie theaters can fill seats up again.
Another option could be Smith appearing on the small screen. While he’s no longer with the Academy, which centers on films, television shows, or related projects on streaming services could make sense for the Oscar winner.
Kelly said a lot would depend on Smith having a solid PR team working for him, but the 53-year-old actor should have no problem finding work if he has that in place.
“This will not be the end for Smith. He still has allies in the business, who while silent now, feel that one mistake should not mean an end to a lifetime of entertaining audiences,” Kelly said.