Oscars Producer Will Packer Reacts to Will Smith's Slap Apology: 'I'm Pulling For Him' (Exclusive)

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Will Packer is rooting for Will Smith.

At the New York City premiere of Beast, ET's Rachel Smith spoke with the producer, who headed up the the 2022 Academy Awards ceremony. He revealed what he thought of the 53-year-old actor's recent public apology for charging the Oscars stage and slapping Chris Rock across the face.

"I love the fact that he's being so transparent about his process," Packer said of Smith. "Clearly he is going through his own personal rehabilitation."

Showing support for the King Richard star, Packer noted, "I’m pulling for him. I’m pulling for him to continue his own process, but I think this is for him. He needs to do it."

He added, "I’m wishing you the best, brother."

While Packer wouldn't say if he's spoken to Smith or Rock since the incident, he was adamant that he was championing them both. "I would just say I love both of those brothers and I’m pulling for them."

Will Packer with Chris Rock backstage during the show at the 94th Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood on Sunday, March 27, 2022.

Will Packer with Chris Rock backstage during the show at the 94th Academy Awards on March 27, 2022.

Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Regardless of the slap that overshadowed the ceremony, Packer said he's proud of what his team was able to achieve at this year's Oscars, which was hosted by Wanda Sykes, Regina Hall and Amy Schumer. 

"People always talk about that [slap], but I hope that over time people will realize it was an energetic, diverse, history-making Oscars ceremony," he told ET. "A lot of energy went into it. I’m very prideful of it."

Packer has moved on from the Oscars and was thrilled to be celebrating the release of Beast, marking the fifth time he's worked on a project with Idris Elba. In the film, Elba plays a father of two teenage daughters who find themselves hunted by a massive rogue lion.

Praising Elba, Packer shared with ET that he keeps working with the actor because "he takes every role so seriously."

"He's always looking for something different that he can bring to a role, so for someone like me that’s always wanting to collaborate with the absolute best -- that's what he is," he bragged. "I will give that to him. It is something that, when I called him about this role, I said, 'This is different. You haven't done this.' He said, 'I’ve done a lot of things.' ...I said, 'You ever pushed a lion before?' He said, 'I’m in.'"

Beast hits theaters on Aug. 19.

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