Many were definitely surprised when Will Smith beat Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars a few months ago. Aside from Rock himself, one person who was arguably most surprised by the incident was Will Packer, who produced this year’s awards show. However, the Hollywood vet hasn’t shied away from speaking out about the incident and what was going on off-camera when it happened. More recently, Packer shared the thoughtful message Idris Elba sent him after the slap.
Will Packer and Idris Elba have been collaborating for some time and have appeared in notable films like 2007’s This Christmas and 2010s customer. The two have now teamed up again for the survival thriller from Universal Pictures animal and are doing the press. The friends/colleagues stopped by The Breakfast Club during the tour where Packer was asked if he would consider producing the Academy Awards again. The producer shot the idea down quickly considering the amount of work that went into making it happen. Though things weren’t going quite as Packer and his team expected, he seemed to take solace in the encouraging message Elba sent him:
Regardless of an A-lister taking the stage and slapping another star, producing the Oscars is no easy task. There are many moving pieces and they all have to work in harmony for the show to be a success. Of course, unexpected variables can come into play, such as the slap mentioned above. However, Idris Elba still had nothing but praise for his longtime collaborator in the same interview. The actor went on to say that he appreciates how the producer “reformatted the intimacy of the Oscars.” So Elba actually seems to be a man who doesn’t mind handing out compliments.
days after the ceremony, Will Packer spoke about what was going on behind the scenes at the Academy Awards. He explained that there was talk between him, Chris Rock and the LAPD about the possibility of “battery” charging Will Smith. Apparently, Rock was “dismissive” enough to press charges that Packer had to ask him to let the authorities finish speaking. Packer also received backlash after the event for tweeting a joke about the show, which many felt was inappropriate. He later responded to the remark, saying, “Black people have a defiant spirit of laughter when it comes to dealing with pain because there has been so much of it.”
Will Smith broke his silence with a slap in the face a few weeks ago and formally apologized to Chris Rock while also acknowledging it “irreparable” damage to his relationship with Tony Rock. After the apology Will Packer sent Smith a message in which he praised the actor for being “so transparent” and wished him well.
While girl trip While the producer isn’t exactly keen on tackling the Oscars again, he can definitely say his one experience is one that neither he (or anyone else) will ever forget. It is likely that there will be those who will criticize his handling of the situation. But on the other side of that equation, there will certainly be people like Idris Elba giving him props for the show as a whole.
Amid the ongoing debate, animal is slated to hit theaters on August 19 as part of the schedule of Theatrical releases 2022.