Will Smith's Career Is Still Showing Some Promise Following Oscars Slap Scandal

Prior to Will Smith's Academy Awards debacle where he slapped Chris Rock, the "I Am Legend" star had visions that his career in Hollywood would fall apart. Smith had gone to Peru and drank ayahuasca which sparked a hallucinogenic trip of doom. "I'm drinking, I'm sitting there, and then all of a sudden, it's like I start seeing all of my money flying away and my house is flying away, and my career is gone," the long-time A-lister recalled on an episode of "My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman" that was filmed before the Oscars slap, per Cinema Blend. "And I'm trying to grab for my money and my career. My whole life is getting destroyed." 

Smith went on to win the Academy Award for best actor in a leading role, but the on-stage incident with Rock had repercussions. The "King Richard" actor issued an online apology the day after the altercation. "I am a work in progress," Smith wrote at the closing of the statement on Instagram. On April 8, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that Smith was banned from the prestigious awards ceremony for 10 years.

Days earlier, on April 2, Smith's career took another hit when Netflix announced it was putting his film "Fast and Loose" on the backburner, per The Hollywood Reporter. The streamer had been seeking a new director for the project but decided to shelve it following the Oscars slap. Smith's career took an obvious hit, but there was encouraging news as well.

Will Smith is set to re-team with Martin Lawrence

In 2020, Will Smith reprised his role as Mike Lowry in "Bad Boys for Life," the third installment in the hit action franchise that launched in 1995. Martin Lawrence joined his former co-star, and returned as the wise-cracking Marcus Burnett. A follow up to "Bad Boys for Life" was announced before the film's release, but following Smith's smack of Chris Rock, there was speculation that the fourth film was being scrapped by the studio. Despite the backlash to his co-star's behavior, Lawrence insisted the new "Bad Boys" film was still in development. "We got one more at least," Lawrence said when Ebony asked if the franchise was finished during an interview for their July cover story.

Before the now-infamous Oscars dust-up, "Smith received 40 pages of the script" for the fourth "Bad Boys" movie, per an article from The Hollywood Reporter on April 2. The outlet also added that the project had been put on "pause" following the incident. This appeared to be dire news for Smith's prospects of once again playing Mike Lowry.

There were already hopes for "Bad Boys" fans in May as Sony Chairman Tom Rothman denied reports that Smith had been removed from the franchise. "No. That was inaccurate. That movie's been in development and still is," Rothman told Deadline. The studio executive also defended Smith's character: "That was an example of a very good person having a very bad moment."