Michael Bay Would ‘Absolutely’ Work With Will Smith After Slap: ‘He’s a Very Even-Keeled Guy’

Michael Bay told Entertainment Weekly that he would “absolutely” work with Will Smith after the actor slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars. Bay directed Smith in two of his signature action movies, “Bad Boys” and “Bad Boys II,” which together grossed over $400 million at the worldwide box office. Smith returned to the franchise in 2020 with the third entry, “Bad Boys for Life,” which earned $426 million worldwide and featured Bay in a cameo role.

“Absolutely, 100 percent,” Bay said when asked about working with Smith again. “He’s a very even-keeled guy. Very even-keeled.”

Bay, who has been making the press rounds this month in support of his new action movie “Ambulance,” has been getting asked about Smith’s Oscars slap a lot because of their shared history together on the “Bad Boys” movies. The director shut down a reporter for asking him about Smith, saying, “I don’t really care. Hollywood gets very self-absorbed. There are babies getting blown up in the Ukraine right now. We should be talking about that. I really don’t care.”

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Bay opened up a bit more about the slap. “At first, immediately I’m like, ‘Did this just happen?’” Bay said. “Then I saw the yell from Will. That’s a real Will yell. Will is an amazing fighter. He’s studied boxing. First of all, it’s wrong to do, no matter what. Let’s just get that out there. But when people said, ‘Oh, he could have killed him.’ No, a slap is different. A punch? Yeah, you can kill someone. Will gave him a slap.”

Since the 2022 Oscars last month, Smith has both apologized to Rock and has resigned from the Academy. In a statement announcing his resignation, Smith wrote, “I betrayed the trust of the Academy. I deprived other nominees and winners of their opportunity to celebrate and be celebrated for their extraordinary work. I am heartbroken.”

The Academy announced April 8 it was banning Smith from all of the organization’s events for 10 years, including attending the Oscars. Smith reacted to the verdict in a statement that read: “I accept and respect the Academy’s decision.”

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