Will Smith's Comeback Plan Revealed

Will Smith has two upcoming projects that could return him to audiences' good graces, over a year after The Slap. Sony Pictures is moving ahead with a fourth Bad Boys movie after Bad Boys for Life was one of the biggest box office hits of 2020. Netflix is also resuming work on Fast and Loose, which the streamer put on hold days after the 94th Academy Awards last year.

These two projects will be Smith's first acting gigs since he slapped comedian Chris Rock during the 2022 Oscars. Sources told Variety on March 10 that Smith plans to film Bad Boys 4 and Fast and Loose back to back. Smith is expected to get $25 million for each project, which is only less than what Smith earned on his last two projects.

Smith ultimately earned $40 million for making King Richard with Warner Bros., while Emancipation earned him a $35 million payday from Apple. King Richard also earned Smith the Best Actor Oscar he spent so much of his career chasing. Emancipation was met with a shrug from critics though and failed to score any Oscar nominations after The Slap.

Studios were initially hesitating to work with Smith after the Oscars incident, even though he remains one of the few true bankable stars left in the industry. "Everyone was waiting to see who would blink first," one executive not in a rush to work with Smith told Variety. "It isn't so much what he did, it was what he did after." The executive was referring to how Smith stayed at the Oscars and accepted his Best Actor award, then was seen dancing at the Vanity Fair party. In the months since then, the public may have moved on, but Rock's March 4 Netflix special Selective Outrage revived the scandal.

One month before Smith slapped Rock, Netflix greenlit Fast and Loose, but the streamer paused the project on April 2, 2022. Once Netflix saw Sony was still moving forward with Bad Boys 4, they revived Fast and Loose, a source told Variety. "Netflix definitely wasn't willing to be the first studio to get back into business with Will," a source said.

Fast and Loose was set to be directed by David Leitch (Bullet Train), but he instead chose to work with Ryan Gosling on The Fall Guy instead. The story centers on a criminal who wakes up in Tijuana with no memory and has to find out who he is. He soon discovers he has two identities, an undercover CIA agent and a crime boss.

As for Bad Boys 4, it will be directed by Bad Boys For Life directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah. Earlier this week, Deadline confirmed Vanessa Hudgens will return as weapons expert Kelly alongside Smith and Martin Lawrence. The new movie will be written by Chris Bremmer and is now in pre-production. Bad Boys For Life earned over $426 million worldwide.