When Will Smith lamped Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars it sent shockwaves through the industry.
Yet ten months on from the shocking incident, Disney is lining up his first acting role since the scandal, bringing him back for a sequel to the 2019 live action version of Aladdin.
I’m told he is set to return as Genie, playing an even bigger part than he did in the first film.
The script is, loosely based on the One Thousand And One Nights series of Middle Eastern folk tales, is being written, with hopes that filming could begin at the end of the year.
A movie insider said: “This would be one of the first movies Will has shot since the Oscars slap and it is quite surprising, given that it will be for a kids’ film.
“He has done a lot of work on himself and the consensus is that it will all be very much in the past by the time the movie is released.
“The first film was a huge success so it would be silly not to make another, and it would be a real shame to have to re-cast Will over what happened.
“So Disney is keen to stand by him and bring him back into the fold.”
Will slapped presenter and comic Chris after he made a joke about hair loss suffered by Will’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.
The 2019 movie, directed by Guy Ritchie, made more than £800million at the box office.
Aside from Will, its leads Mena Massoud, as Aladdin, and Naomi Scott, as Jasmine, were fairly unknown, but they are also eager to return.
Asked last month if he knew what was happening with the film, Mena said: “There was a change with the writers, and they are working on a new draft. If Aladdin 2 happens, that’s fantastic. It should happen.
“It’s not going to be based off the animated version. This is going to be a new original story.”