Will Smith’s Netflix Movie Is Back On, Career Fully Recovered?

Will Smith's Netflix movie Fast and Loose is back in production after being put on hold following the Chris Rock slap at the 2022 Oscars.

By Sckylar Gibby-Brown | Updated

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It was the slap heard ‘round the world last year when Will Smith commandeered the stage and assaulted comedian and Oscar presenter Chris Rock at the 2022 Academy Awards. Since then, the I am Legend actor hasn’t been seen much in public other than to promote the only film he released in 2022: Emancipation. After a year of movie studios timidly questioning when to bring Smith back on set, it seems that the producers are finally ready to take that risk, and Netflix’s Fast and Loose is back on after having been put on hold following Smith’s actions.

According to Variety, even though Will Smith is one of the biggest Hollywood actors of all time, no studio wanted to be the first to hire him after the assault took place. Fast and Loose had already been greenlit at the time of the 2022 Academy Awards, but after Smith slapped Chris Rock, the film was immediately put on hold. Per Variety, the film only began moving forward again after Sony greenlit Bad Boys 4

Fast and Loose is an action crime thriller about a leader of a crime organization who suffers memory loss. It’s one of four movies in pre-production that have Will Smith slated as the lead actor, including Bad Boys 4, which is the fourth installment of the Bad Boys series, The Council, which is a biopic of a Harlem crime syndicate in the 1970s, and a remake of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, which Smith will star in next to Kevin Hart. 

With four acting projects in the works and 14 producer projects in development (including the four Smith is acting in), it seems that Will Smith’s career has fully recovered almost 365 days after the Rock incident. It also seems that part of Will Smith’s recovery strategy is to redirect the type of movies he performs in, at least when compared to his most recent filmography. 

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Will Smith’s most recent projects have been considered attempts at adding accolades to his portfolio. In King Richard (2021), Smith gave an Oscar-worthy performance, and his part as Richard Williams earned the actor an Academy Award, which was why he was at the awards show in the first place. Emancipation (2022) was also considered a grab for awards, although the film didn’t win any nominations and received mixed or average reviews overall.

Since the slap, Will Smith has been banned from the Oscars for ten years, so it makes sense that the Men In Black actor would change up the types of roles he accepts. Rather than taking on more award-season potentials, the actor is switching back to the types of Hollywood tent-poles that made him one of the world’s best-known actors in the first place. 

Despite the bad behavior Will Smith displayed in front of more than 15 million movie-loving viewers, the Independence Day actor remains one of the highest-paid movie stars in Hollywood. Smith was paid $40 million for King Richard and $35 million for Emancipation, albeit both contracts were signed before the slapping incident. However, even post-slap, Smith is getting a sizable payday on his upcoming projects, with $25 million quotes for Fast and Loose and Bad Boys 4