Will Smith Spotted in Ecuador Filming First Project Since Chris Rock Oscars Slap Controversy

·2 min read
Will Smith in Ecuador
Will Smith in Ecuador

Backgrid Will Smith

Will Smith is back to business.

The actor, 53, was spotted on set for the first time since he slapped Chris Rock at the Academy Awards in March — in Ecuador, to film the National Geographic/Disney+ series Welcome to Earth.

Smith was photographed in the South American nation on Thursday, specifically in Alausí, a town in Ecuador's Chimborazo province.

In one snap, Smith is seen aboard the La Nariz del Diablo train wearing a long-sleeved shirt and baseball cap, blowing a kiss to fans through the window.

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Will Smith
Will Smith

Pablo Cuadra/WireImage Will Smith

RELATED: Academy CEO on Whether Will Smith Incident Could Be Addressed Next Year: "We Want to Move Forward"

During the March 27 Oscars broadcast, Smith walked onstage and struck Rock, 57, after a joke the comedian made about Smith's wife Jada Pinkett Smith's shaved head. (The actress, 50, lives with alopecia.)

The slap led to months of fallout for the Best Actor winner, who resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and was banned from attending Academy events for 10 years.

The King Richard star apologized to Rock in a statement on Instagram the following day before posting an apology video on his social media accounts July 29, explaining that night and apologizing directly to Rock and his family.

"I've reached out to Chris and the message that came back is that he's not ready to talk, and when he is he will reach out," Smith said. "So I will say to you, Chris, I apologize to you. My behavior was unacceptable, and I'm here whenever you're ready to talk."

RELATED VIDEO: Will Smith Apologizes to Chris Rock in New Video: "I'm Here Whenever You're Ready to Talk"

Rock reportedly said on Sunday that he declined an invitation to host the 2023 Academy Awards after the infamous slap, comparing going back to the Oscars to returning to the scene of a crime, according to the Arizona Republic.

While discussing the hosting offer during a comedy set in Phoenix, the comedian made a reference to the 1995 murder trial of O.J. Simpson, noting it would be like asking the late Nicole Brown Simpson "to go back to the restaurant" where her mother had left a pair of glasses the night of her death.

Rock reportedly said that Smith's slap itself hurt, referencing the actor's turn as Muhammed Ali in the 2001 movie Ali and explaining, "He's bigger than me. The state of Nevada would not sanction a fight between me and Will Smith."

The comedian — who previously hosted the Oscars in 2005 and 2016 — added that he also turned down the opportunity to appear in a Super Bowl ad following the slapping incident.