by Shanelle Genai —
While there, in promotion of his new film, “Emancipation,” which is set to hit theaters Dec. 2 — Smith sat down with Noah and discussed the gripping new feature and, of course, that fateful moment at this year’s Academy Awards.
“That was a horrific night as you can imagine,” Smith began. “There’s many nuances and complexities to it but, at the end of the day, I just lost it. I guess what I would say — you just never know what somebody is going through.”
“I was going through something that night. Not that that justifies my behavior at all. I would just say, you’re asking what did I learn, and it’s that: we just gotta be nice to each other, man. It’s like, it’s hard. And I guess the thing that was most painful for me is I took my hard and made it hard for other people. And it’s like, I understood the idea where they say ‘hurt people, hurt people…’
“It was a lot of things. It was the little boy that watched his father beat up his mother. All of that just bubbled up in that moment. That’s not who I wanna be. You’ve known me for a long time, so you know me personally, so you know. But y’all might not know. That’s not who I wanna be, man.”
He later added, “I understand how shocking it was for people, man. On that stage — I was gone, dude. I was gone, I was gone. That was a rage that had been bottled for a really long time. I understand the pain.”
Speaking to “Emancipation” — which tells the triumphant story of Peter, a man who escapes from slavery on a quest for freedom — Smith echoed the sentiments he shared during an interview with Variety earlier on Monday where he hoped his transgression wouldn’t overshadow the hard work of the folks involved with the film.
“Emancipation“ is (director) Antoine (Fuqua’s) masterpiece. He has created an absolute masterpiece,” the King Richard star explained.
“Bob Richardson, the DP; Ben Foster; and just all the way down — it’s like these top artists in the world have done some of the best work of their careers. And the idea that they might be denied because of me is like (groans.} It’s like, that is just killing me dead. And the thing that is like, so critical for me, is that these people came and they trusted me and they were down for me. I just hope that their work will be honored and their work will not be tainted based on a horrific decision on my part.”
To watch Smith’s full interview, head to The Daily Show with Trevor Noah’s official YouTube.