Sony Chief Responds To Rumors Of Will Smith’s Bad Boys 4 Being Paused After Oscars Slap

Film News

It’s been almost two full months since Will Smith slapped Chris Rock onstage at the 94th Academy Awards, and the incident is still being periodically brought up in public conversation. Earlier this week, Seth Meyers mentioned the slap while speaking at NBCUniversal’s Upfront presentation, and now Tom Rothman, the chairman of Sony’s Motion Picture Group, has responded to rumors that Bad Boys 4, one of Smith’s upcoming movies, has been paused in response to what happened at the Oscars.

Back in April, after Will Smith resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts (and prior to the actor being banned from all Academy-related events for the next 10 years), it was reported that development on Bad Boys 4 was being paused, while Fast & Loose, a Smith-led thriller that was set up at Netflix, has been put on the “back burner.” As far as Bad Boys 4 is concerned, here’s what Tom Rothman told Deadline about if the next entry in this action film series co-starring Martin Lawrence “had the brakes pumped” due to the Oscars slap:

No. That was inaccurate. That movie’s been in development and still is. There weren’t any brakes to pump because the car wasn’t moving. That was a very unfortunate thing that happened, and I don’t think it’s really my place to comment, except to say that I’ve known Will Smith for many years, and I know him to be a good person. That was an example of a very good person having a very bad moment, in front of the world. I believe his apology and regret is genuine, and I believe in forgiveness and redemption.

Tom Rothman’s response on this matter comes a little over a week after CinemaBlend’s own Sean O’Connell inquired with Jerry Bruckheimer about what’s happening with Bad Boys 4, to which the producer said that “people who are higher up have to make that decision.” As Rothman laid out, Bad Boys 4’s development hasn’t been paused because, as this stage of the creative process, there was nothing to pause. It sounds like the sequel to 2020’s Bad Boys for Life is still on the way, and while Rothman acknowledged that it’s unfortunate about what happened between Will Smith and Chris Rock, he’s not going to let that incident affect the next chapter of the Bad Boys saga.

That’s not to say that we can expect to see Bad Boys 4 soon, or that something won’t happen in the future that could lead to it being sidelined. For now though, don’t count it in the same category as something like Bright 2, which has reportedly been canceled (though not in response to Will Smith slapping Chris Rock). As far as Smith himself goes, he reportedly went on a “spiritual journey” to India in late April, and while he did apologize to Rock on social media for what he did, he apparently still hasn’t personally reached out to the SNL alum.

As soon as there’s a significant update on Bad Boys 4’s progress, CinemaBlend will share it. Will Smith’s next movie is Apple TV+’s Emancipation, which is now expected to come out sometime in 2023.

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