Apple and Netflix back out of bidding war for Will Smith biopic amid controversy

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Apple TV+ and Netflix have pulled out of the bidding war over Will Smith’s biopic after the actor slapped comedian Chris Rock at the Oscars.

Apple was among several companies battling for the rights to a film about Smith’s life based on his bestselling autobiography released in 2021. However, The sun reports that Apple withdrew its bid for the film.

“Netflix and Apple+ have quietly withdrawn bids for a Will Smith biopic and will instead shift funds and develop original ideas for new black actors,” a source said.

Apparently, working with Smith has become a “risky business” following the controversy surrounding the actor’s slap. The controversy began when Smith burst onto the stage at the Oscars and slapped Rock after the comedian made a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

At the Oscars, Smith won the Best Actor Oscar for his role in “King Richard,” beating out Denzel Washington’s portrayal of the titular character in the Apple TV+ movie “The Tragedy of Macbeth.”

After seemingly defending his actions during his Oscars acceptance speech, Smith later apologized for his actions and resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Smith is currently slated to star in a new original movie for Apple TV+ titled “Emancipation.” However, production was halted on the film due to Covid-19. Additionally, Apple was among several companies sued for alleged sexual harassment that took place during filming of the film.

Laura J. Boyer