Apple’s Civil War drama starring Will Smith just finished filming, now what?

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The Civil War drama Emancipation finished filming early this year, but now Apple faces a quandary of what to do with the movie. Because Will Smith is the star of Emancipation

The film is set during the Civil War era, and Apple envisioned it as a sure fire Oscar contender when it wrapped earlier this year. But, of course, that was before Mr. Smith strolled on stage at the Academy Awards in March and slapped comedian Chris Rock, who made that joke about Will’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. 

Mr. Smith, who also won Best Actor that night, has since surrendered his membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and has been banned from attending any academy related events, including the Oscars, for the next decade. That’s 10 years in case you don’t know. 

So, Apple finds itself left with $120 million unreleased award-style movie featuring a star no longer welcome at the biggest award show of them all. Oh, it’s a big question, isn’t it? 

Will Smith wipes away tears during his acceptance speech for Best Actor at the Oscars, Sunday, March 27, 2022, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Well, even if it succeeds artistically, overcoming the baggage that now accompanies Will Smith… The sensitivity of the situation is apparent, according to three people involved who spoke on conditions of anonymity to discuss the company’s planning. 

They are trying to figure out if they should release Emancipation by the end of this year, which of course would make it eligible for awards. And then should they maybe push it to 2023? There is no easy answer because either way it’s going to be involving Will Smith.

The question is, is he too toxic or does Apple release the movie and watch the outcome unfold?

Audiences could be turned off by Will’s presence. However, some could also love the idea that he’s back in a film prompting another Oscar campaign. But, if they get an Oscar campaign going, he still cannot attend the ceremony.

And for all these stories and a whole lot more, don’t forget to follow Tanya Hart on social media at @tanyahollywood and @aurnonline.


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