Will Smith says that playing Peter in his new film Emancipation helped him get through the months after his infamous Oscars slap. While promoting the film, Smith explained that the role has helped him with overcoming adversity.
“It’s like when you can locate and center yourself in your divine purpose, you can withstand anything and everything,” he said, according to ABC News
The film follows an escaped slave inspired by “Whipped Peter,” who evades slave hunters in search of freedom.
He continued: “Peter has absolutely helped me through these last few months, just reestablishing within myself in what my purpose is in this world.”
“This movie was so grueling. Literally across the board, everybody had to devote a hefty amount of suffering to what you see on that screen,” Smith said. “So my greatest wish, and I guess I can talk about my greatest fear, is that my team would be penalized for my actions. I’m out with this film that I love and strictly want my people to get their flowers.”
Antoine Fuqua, who directed Emancipation, says that Smith slapping Chris Rock was just a “mistake.”
“For me, it’s a mistake,” Fuqua said. “Hopefully everybody can get back on track and God bless everyone. But we’re talking about 400 years of brutality.”
Notably, Smith is still eligible for nominations and awards at the Oscars, despite his 10-year ban from the Academy. He cannot, however, accept them at the ceremony.
Smith has also said he’s gotten to feeling “purified and transformed” since the incident.
Emancipation arrives on Apple TV+, Friday.