Netflix Halts Development on Will Smith Project Following Chris Rock Controversy

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Will Smith's recent actions at the 94th Academy Awards are still affecting his career despite issuing an apology. A new report reveals that Smith's upcoming project titled Fast and Loose has been pushed back by Netflix in what appears to be an effort to keep some distance from the controversial actor.

The Hollywood Reporter reveals that a week before the Oscars, Netflix was competing with Universal to be the next project for director David Leitch but the filmmaker decided to work on Universal Pictures' Fall Guy with Ryan Gosling. Since then, Netflix had put out an urgent call for another director to take over Fast and Loose featuring Will Smith who was heavily favored to win the Best Actor at the Oscars. Although Smith did take home the award for his performance in King Richard, he also made a controversial move by slapping Chris Rock just a few minutes before accepting the trophy.

Interestingly, the controversy had a strong effect on the project. Soon after Smith’s attack on Rock went viral, Netflix decided to move the project "to the back burner" with no immediate plans for production. It's an interesting move considering that the streaming giant was eager to get started on the project as soon as possible prior to what went down during the Oscars.

Will Smith has since issued an apology to the Academy and to Chris Rock. His statement also confirmed that he is resigning from the Academy and that he "will accept any further consequences the Board deems appropriate."

"I have directly responded to the Academy’s disciplinary hearing notice, and I will fully accept any and all consequences for my conduct. My actions at the 94th Academy Awards presentation were shocking, painful, and inexcusable. The list of those I have hurt is long and includes Chris, his family, many of my dear friends and loved ones, all those in attendance, and global audiences at home," Smith said in his statement.

The new Netflix project Fast and Loose has not yet been given an official release date. Stay tuned for more updates on this story.

Related: Will Smith Resigns from Academy, Issues Apology for Chris Rock Controversy

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