Will Smith’s Letterman interview casts shadow on Oscar slap

Entertainment

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 27: Will Smith accepts the Actor in a Leading Role award for ‘King Richard’ onstage during the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on March 27, 2022 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

CHICAGO (NewsNation) — Actor Will Smith was a guest on a new season of the Netflix show “My Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman.”

During the interview, Smith talked about his November 2021 memoir “Will,” which describes his feelings about not being able to protect his mother from abuse.

“The first line of the first chapter is, ‘I’ve always thought of myself as a coward,'” Smith told Letterman.

“When I was 9 years old, I saw my father beat up my mother, and I didn’t do anything. And that just left a traumatic impression of myself as a coward.”

Smith added that he was ready to “dive into my art in a way that I think will be hopefully fulfilling for me and helpful for the human family.”

He said life was exciting because he could finally reach out to and connect with people, largely because of his own pain.

The interview was recorded in January, two months before Smith’s attack on comedian Chris Rock at the 2022 Academy Awards ceremony over a joke about Smith’s wife’s shaved head.

Jada Pinkett Smith had previously talked about her issues with hair loss, and Smith has since apologized to Rock on social media.

The Oscar slap cast a bizarre shadow over a fun moment on the show with the former late-night host.

Smith presented tips on throwing a dodging a punch, which he learned while training to play Muhammad Ali. He talked candidly about his drive to excel, and his expectations to remain a leading man.

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