Another Will Smith project has been put on the back burner. Although, this time it’s not because of The Slap. Entirely. Smith’s upcoming action drama movie, Emancipation, is reportedly being pushed into 2023. Apple had hoped to release the film directed by Antoine Fuqua during this year’s fall festival circuit, but sources inside the streaming company say that plan is now out the window.
While Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars is definitely a “prominent consideration,” the film was already suffering production problems that made it unlikely Fuqua would have it finished in time. Via Variety:
Multiple sources shared that Fuqua is still deep in post-production and may not be ready in time for a 2022 bow. The film suffered numerous delays due to moving the production from Georgia to Louisiana in protest of the state’s voting restrictions laws, the destruction caused by Hurricane Ida and the pause due to COVID cases in August 2021.
Apple also has a full schedule for later in the year that it plans to push for awards, and Smith’s performance in Emancipation is reportedly so good that the streamer wants to make sure it gets a fair shake. Prior to his Oscar win for King Richard, an insider who saw early footage of the Fuqua film told Variety, “Will’s going to win back-to-back.” Of course, that was before Smith slapped Rock on stage in front of millions of viewers and was banned from Academy events for the next 10 years, so the actor scoring another nom is probably firmly in the long-shot category right now.