Will Smith realizes that some people might not be ready for his return to film due to his actions at the Oscars earlier this year.
On Monday (Nov. 28), the actor did press surrounding his upcoming movie Emancipation — directed by Antoine Fuqua — and also addressed him slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars earlier this year.
“I completely understand — if someone is not ready, I would absolutely respect that and allow them their space to not be ready,” Smith told journalist Kevin McCarthy, who asked him what he would say to people skeptical of his comeback. “My deepest concern is my team – Antoine has done what I think is the greatest work of his entire career. 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.”
He added, “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.”
Following the incident, Smith resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and was later given a 10-year ban from attending the Oscars in light of his actions at the March 27 ceremony.
Emancipation will be released in theaters Dec. 9. Watch Smith’s interview below.