The slap heard around the world was so transcendent that even Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe put LeBron James on the backburner for 20 minutes to analyze Will Smith vs Chris Rock on their Fox Sports debate show.
This likely isn’t breaking news to anyone, but just in case you missed it, Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett-Smith and her husband responded by strutting across the Oscars stage to smack the comedian across the face.
The altercation overshadowed what should have been the biggest night of Smith’s career, winning Best Actor for his portrayal of Serena and Venus Williams‘ father in the film King Richard. It did leave some people wondering if the incident was real, fake, or a little of both?
“Is it possible that Will actually started to think he was Richard Williams?” Bayless wondered on Fox Sports’ Undisputed. “Like, ‘I gotta put an end to this right here right now because that’s what Richard would have done’…it’s method acting, taken over the edge.”
Skip Bayless puts LeBron James on the backburner to wonder if Will Smith was just method acting pic.twitter.com/7wiQppArtU
— Brandon Contes (@BrandonContes) March 28, 2022
“A lot of times they get in character and when you get in character it’s hard to get out of character,” Sharpe added.
Unlike Daniel Day-Lewis, who famously refused to break character while filming the biographical drama Lincoln, Smith isn’t known for being a method actor. In fact, Smith previously described the dangers of method acting, claiming he became too engulfed by his character in Six Degrees of Separation that it caused him to fall in love with co-star Stockard Channing.
“I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams,” Smith said during his acceptance speech, which occurred after he smacked Rock. “But love will make you do crazy things.”
There’s method acting and then there’s slapping Chris Rock across the face more than 15 months after the filming for King Richard came to an end. That’s why more people seem willing to categorize the altercation as assault rather than method acting.
Sharpe certainly didn’t give Smith any benefit of the doubt, claiming if he were in Rock’s position, he would have “whooped Will Smith’s ass.”
“I think the whole theater thought it was rehearsed, like it was staged,” Bayless added. “Then it became clear that it was not.”
Sharpe and Bayless concluded Smith’s outburst was the culmination of other issues the actor may have had with his wife, specifically their very public “entanglement” drama.