Will Smith formed an unlikely bond with boxing champ Floyd Mayweather after the infamous Oscar’s Slapgate debacle earlier this year.
Smith revealed that Mayweather had been his rock during the seven months since the slapping incident at the award show. He explained how his newfound friend called him for ten days straight. At his screening for the film, Emancipation, the 54-year-old actor talked about what Mayweather’s support meant to him.
“I want to say something also about Floyd. We’ve met each other. We’ve seen each other around, but we weren’t, like, friends,” Smith explained. “And, the day after the Oscars, for ten days, he called me every day. And he was like, ‘Hey, you know you the champ, right? You good? You know you the champ, right? I want you to hear my voice say it. That was every day he called me, and it’s like, that’s my dude forever right there.”
The Emancipation screening took place at the London Hotel last Monday. The private star-studded event was Smith’s first public project after slapping Rock during the live broadcast of the 2022 Academy Awards.
Dave Chapelle, Tyler Perry, Rihanna, A$AP Rocky, Corey “Blacksmith” Smyth, Kenya Barris and Mayweather attended the screening.
Mayweather congratulated his good friend on his new endeavor, calling the movie “unbelievable.”
“This movie is truly unbelievable; @willsmith and @AntoineFuqua, congrats. The whole world should make sure they see this film,” the boxing great wrote on Instagram.
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Emancipation was directed by Training Day’s Antoine Fuqua.
In the film, Smith portrays a slave named Peter who trudges through the treacherous terrain of the Louisiana swamps. He begins the journey to escape slave catchers and bondage after hearing that slaves were free. The film’s inspiration is a series of photos taken of a man named “Whipped Peter” in 1863 by the Union Army. One picture in the group of images titled “The Scourged Back” revealed that the man’s back was deformed by being whipped by enslavers.
Emancipation will be released in movie theaters on December 2 and streamed on Apple on December 9.