Netflix unveiled an episode of its talk show yesterday My next guest needs no introduction recorded ahead of the 2022 Oscars, with disgraced actor Will Smith sitting down with former late-night host David Letterman to discuss his 2021 memoir Shallhis Oscar-winning King Richard role, “pain” due to his childhood and more.
During the interview, Smith referred to the first line of his memoir by admitting that he always considered himself “a coward” given a traumatic experience at age nine. It was at this point in his life that he saw his mother being beaten up by his father without intervening.
Smith said processing such life experiences through writing his memoir has “unlocked” a part of him “as an actor” that is unlike anything he’s experienced. “Life is so exciting for me right now because I can reach people in a different way than I’ve ever been able to, largely because of my pain,” he explained, of the benefit of leaning into difficult feelings. “I’m really ready to dive into my heart in a way that I think will hopefully be satisfying to me and helpful to the human family.”
Smith’s various comments and interactions with Letterman on My next guest registered differently than they might have, had his Oscar controversy not unfolded so recently. At one point in the episode, Letterman refers to his mother, with the actor jokingly replying, “Don’t say anything about my mother, Dave.”
Smith talks about his boxing training for the movie at another time Ali before demonstrating the punch form. “Show me that, but don’t hit me,” Letterman jokes. “Jesus, that was terrifying. Don’t do that again.”
Then there’s a moment when Smith remarks that “you can’t protect your family.
“Protection and security is an illusion. You have to learn to live with the reality that any moment, everything can be over in a second,” he said. “So with that reality, how can you be here? And how can you be happy and be here?”
Smith made international headlines in March when he stormed onto the Oscar stage and punched host Chris Rock after the comic made a joke at the expense of his wife, Jada Pinkett. Making things even more surreal was the fact that the actor returned to the Oscar stage later in the evening to receive his first statuette before his turn in Warner Bros.’ tennis drama, King Richard† He later apologized for his actions via Instagram, calling them “unacceptable and unforgivable” and resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The Film Academy subsequently banned Smith from attending Oscars ceremonies and other Academy functions for the next 10 years.
Smith’s My next guest appearance was prefaced with the disclaimer, “This episode was filmed prior to the 2022 Academy Awards ceremony.” Other guests appearing in the show’s fourth season, now available to stream in its entirety on Netflix, include Billie Eilish, Cardi B, Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Durant and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.