Oscars Producer Will Packer Talks Will Smith’s Future Following Slap Apology (Exclusive)
Will Packer opened up to “Extra’s” Terri Seymour about producing the 2022 Oscars and Will Smith’s recent apology for slapping Chris Rock at the award show. The filmmaker also dishes on his new survival thriller “Beast,” starring Idris Elba.
Reflecting on Smith’s public apology, Packer said, “I think it’s part of his journey… Part of his personal reconciliation, personal rehabilitation. I like the fact that he's being so transparent and so honest about it. I think it will be a long, arduous road, but I think that he's putting the work in, and so I certainly commend him for that, being very, very honest about the remorse that he feels and the pain he is in.”
The producer added, “I think that he’s got a career that over the last three decades has presented someone that is very, very different than the person we saw in that split second… I am pulling for him in the long haul, and I think it will be a long haul.”
Looking back, Packer said he would not do anything differently. “I’m very proud of the show — I am… And the decisions that were made. Given all the circumstances, I think those were the right decisions, knowing what was known, and I stand behind it and I stand by that show.”
He is proud of “Beast,” too, which is about a father and his two teenage daughters who are stalked by a lion while visiting a South African game preserve. Packer told Seymour, “We wanted you to spill your popcorn while you’re watching some of these scenes.”
Will said of Idris fighting a lion, “You’re doing very, very long, multi-minute takes.”