Will Smith’s antics at the Oscars continue to have ripple effects a week later. If anyone out there is a fan of the Bad Boys franchise—and who among us can claim to be otherwise?—this just got personal.
There are rumblings in town concerning the anticipated next entry in the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced buddy cop series, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “Bad Boys 4 had been in active development, and Smith received 40 pages of the script before the Oscars incident,” the industry trade outlet wrote. “[N]ow there will be a … pause … in work as things play out.”
The third entry in the series, Bad Boys For Life, launched the A-level directing careers of Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, now working on Batgirl for HBO Max. It earned a whopping $426 million at the worldwide box office in 2020, and due to the pandemic, was the number-one Hollywood release that year. (China’s The Eight Hundred and Japan’s Demon Slayer: Mugen Train were the gold and silver medal winners worldwide in that very unusual year.) One suspects that Martin Lawrence has some very strong feelings about the potential change in a fourth film’s future.
The Hollywood Reporter also wrote that Netflix, which was developing a project called Fast and Loose as a Smith vehicle, has “quietly moved the project to the back burner.” (Netflix “did not respond to requests for comment,” they report.)
There was already some wobbly momentum on this project before Smith’s smack-heard-round-the-world on Oscar night. Director David Leitch (director of Deadpool 2, Atomic Blonde, and the co-creator of John Wick) exited the project a week prior to the Academy Awards ceremony. He is instead working with Ryan Gosling on a big screen adaptation of the 1980s action series The Fall Guy at Universal. (Premise: Hollywood stuntmen by day, bounty hunters by night!)
Fast and Loose, written by Red and The Meg scribes Eric and Jon Hoeber, concerns a man who awakens in Tijuana with no memory after being left for dead. In time, he discovers that he is both a crime boss with a lavish lifestyle and an undercover CIA agent living like a loser. One is obviously an undercover ruse: but which one?! Yeah, you can kinda’ see the trailer in your head, right?
When Leitch walked away, the streamer “put out an urgent call for another director,” according to THR. Under normal circumstances, a big project like this, especially with the most recent Oscar-winning best actor attached, would swiftly attract top shelf action directors. But these are, it is fair to say, not normal circumstances for Smith.
On late Friday, the winner of this year’s best actor trophy for King Richard resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In a statement, Smith wrote that “[m]y actions at the 94th Academy Awards presentation were shocking, painful, and inexcusable. The list of those I have hurt is long and includes Chris [Rock], his family, many of my dear friends and loved ones, all those in attendance, and global audiences at home. I betrayed the trust of the Academy. I deprived other nominees and winners of their opportunity to celebrate and be celebrated for their extraordinary work. I am heartbroken.”
Smith’s decision to quit the Academy certainly takes the edge off the upcoming scheduled meeting by the group’s board of governors to discuss l’affaire du slap. That meeting is happening April 18. Why does it takes so long to get everyone together? I can’t tell you. Maybe everyone’s too busy reading articles about Will Smith.