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Before The Chris Rock Oscars Incident, Will Smith Says He Wanted ‘To Vomit’ Over Having Vision His Career Would Be Destroyed

The acting career of Academy Award winner Will Smith seems to be at a bit of a crossroads. While upcoming movies like Emancipation are still on the board, other projects have either been put on pause, or are in an uncertain holding pattern. This reality takes on a new dimension after Smith’s recent Netflix interview with David Letterman, as before the Chris Rock Oscars incident, the actor had a vision that hinted to his career potentially being destroyed.

Introduced as “America’s friend,” Smith's episode of My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman (opens in new tab) was filmed before this year’s 93rd Academy Awards. Part of this interview saw him describing what he called “the individual most hellish psychological experience of my life,” triggered by a dose of ayahuasca he’d drunk in Peru. Starting to tell the story, Will Smith began his harrowing tale as follows: 

Once you drink it, you’ll see yourself in a way you’ve never seen yourself. … So I’m drinking, I’m sitting there, and then all of a sudden it’s like I start seeing all of my money flying away, and my house is flying away, and my career is gone. And I’m trying to, like, grab for my money and my career. My whole life is getting destroyed. … And I’m in there, and I’m wanting to vomit, and all of that. I hear a voice saying, ‘This is what the fuck it is. This is what the fuck life is.’

Will Smith’s story about his experience with ayahuasca turns out to be part of what he called his “spiritual journey.” Telling the story of how his successes didn’t feel like enough, Smith eventually took a friend’s suggestion, and went on 14 “journeys” with the hallucinogenic. His worst trip happened to be the one he started describing above.

As the King Richard  actor continued to walk David Letterman down his nightmarish vision, Will Smith added even more terrifying details. Further on into this ayahuasca trip, a member of his own family seemed to be in peril. Continuing his story, Smith shared the worst part of it all, and the resolution that came after: 

And I’m going, ‘Oh shit,’ and I hear Willow screaming, ‘Daddy, help me! Daddy! How come you won’t help me?’ And I’m like, ‘I don’t see you, baby,’ and the shaman is like, ‘Relax, relax, relax.’ And she tells me, ‘Sit up.’ Then slowly, I stopped caring about money, I just wanted to get to Willow. I stopped caring about my house, about my career. … When I came out of it, I realized that anything that happens in my life, I can handle it. I can handle any person I lose, I can handle anything that goes wrong in my life, I can handle anything in my marriage. I can handle anything that this life has to offer me.

Will Smith’s spiritual journey is ongoing, as his recent trip to India was labelled as part of that very experience. While what he’s admitted to in his ayahuasca vision doesn’t excuse slapping Chris Rock on Oscar night, it would appear that there’s more background to the man’s place in life at the time. This feels especially valid when taken alongside other comments from the same interview, in which Smith also talked about not being able to protect his family

As Smith’s ban from The Academy seems to cancel out his Best Actor win for King Richard, who knows where his interpretation of this vision will take him next. All that anyone can say is that Will Smith is still trying to unpack his inner self. The consequences of his actions will continue to be felt for some time, with projects like Bad Boys 4 continuing to hang in the balance.

You can currently see Will Smith’s episode of My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, as well as the rest of this season’s guests so far, on Netflix. Should you be looking for the rundown of the 2022 Netflix TV schedule, it’s out in the open for those who seek it.

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.