After his physical altercations with Rock at the Oscars ceremony, the Academy Award-winning actor ended up on the wrong side of the headlines. Smith walked on stage and slapped the comedian across the face during the live telecast in response to a joke made about the actor's wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith. The Academy has since issued a statement condemning Smith's actions and started a formal review to assess the next steps for addressing the situation. However, before the organization could decide how the discipline the star, Smith stepped away voluntarily. Rumors surrounding the situation speculated the actor could face suspension or expulsion, which may have prompted Smith to jump before further damage could be done.
Per The Hollywood Reporter, despite Smith's apology and self-directed discipline, Netflix has decided to shelve Fast and Loose for the time being. Coincidentally, the project lost its director, David Leitch, a week before the award ceremony after he withdrew to pursue an alternate body of work with Universal. Leitch left Fast and Loose to team up with Ryan Gosling on his new film, Fall Guy, which looks to begin production in August. Netflix immediately started searching for a new director after Leitch made the decision to step away, but the development engine abruptly slowed after Smith's televised altercation with Rock. Netflix has yet to comment, but the pause gives the platform time to find a new director and possibly a new leading star to replace Smith if the streamer decides to move in that unfortunate direction.
Netflix, however, isn't the only organization hesitant about moving forward with projects involving Smith at the moment. The newest installment of the Bad Boys franchise, starring Smith and comedian Martin Lawrence, has also pumped the brakes on its momentum, pausing development for the time being. Smith received roughly 40 pages from the highly anticipated Bad Boys 4 script before the Academy Awards, but the actor's on-stage actions prompted Sony to shelve the project temporarily. Smith's upcoming Apple TV Plus drama Emancipation currently sits in post-production, but a release date has failed to surface at this time. Apple may decide to push the release to the back burner, effectively putting the actor's career in limbo for the foreseeable future.
The 94th Academy Awards marked the first time Smith has ever taken home the coveted Best Actor prize. The experience for the King Richard star should have been a memorable one after failing to take home the award for his performance in Ali and The Pursuit of Happyness, but the memory will linger beneath in an inextinguishable cloud. A truly regrettable series of events initiated by the Oscar-winning star will likely overshadow the highest moment of Smith's career. The situation could have reached an unspeakable level if Rock had decided to pursue charges, probably placing the actor's illustrious career in a difficult hole. While apologetic, it's unclear when Smith's shelved projects will resume development. Audiences may find it challenging to support Smith, but only time will tell if the inflicted wound can heal.
In March, it surfaced that Smith would be teaming up with Black Panther star Michael B. Jordan for the sequel to Smith's 2007 film I Am Legend. The upcoming project would be the first to include Smith and Jordan together on-screen, but recent events may pause the film's development. It only takes one domino to fall for others to follow suit. With Netflix deciding to halt Smith's upcoming project, it'll be interesting to see how other studios handle the complicated situation. Smith has been a beloved Hollywood staple for decades, but the actor has entered into waters that may be difficult to navigate.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter