Will Smith became something of a Hollywood after slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars. It was not because Rock was right or hadn't provoked Smith. Instead, it was because Hollywood relies on perception and Smith had torn right through that. While Smith did appear in the historical drama Emancipation, his future in Hollywood was somewhat uncertain. Despite honoring and upholding numerous racists, misogynists, and abusers for decades, Hollywood wanted to be very clear that they did not tolerate slapping someone on television.
However, the exile did not last long. In early 2023, Smith announced that he was working on Bad Boys 4. John Salley, a three-time NBA champion and actor, had a small role in the original Bad Boys. Furthermore, he has been slated to return in Bad Boys 4. That, along with a long-time friendship with Smith, has helped Salley provide an insight into how Smith lived his life after "The Slap".
Smith Had "Best Rest" During Time Away From Hollywood
Speaking with Vlad TV, Salley spoke at length about the impact being away from Hollywood had on Smith. “After Will did his smack, Will got to travel. Will got to step outside of all this stuff and when he was back he said — best rest he’s ever gotten. Best time he got to sit back and look at things,” Salley said. Furthermore, Smith's expulsion from the Academy meant that "Now you can just make movies because you love to make movies," according to Salley.
He continued. “When you start realizing everything that happens is like the butterfly effect. Everything ripples down to something else and it was him having to get out of it. I always looked at it when I watched the smack — it seemed like he didn’t wanna do it but he was already committed. Because he was leaning back like he was fighting something.” Details about Bad Boys 4 are still scarce, with only a few set details being released so far. The most notable of these is that Theresa Randle will not reprise her role from the first three films of the franchise.