Will Smith has faced his fair share of controversy over the last few years, but this one can't be attributed to him. In May 2023, social media posts surfaced claiming that the actor was playing the role of Adolf Hitler in an upcoming Netflix production.
The title of the production, according to a popular tweet, was "Adolf." That tweet and a Reddit post featured an image supposedly showing the actor in costume as the Nazi leader, complete with the well-known hairstyle and mustache, speaking into a microphone while making a fist.
However, the claims that Netflix had announced this alleged "Adolf" series and Smith was playing Hitler were false. We searched Netflix's website and social media accounts for evidence of such a project in production and found no such proof. Smith's IMDb page showed no such upcoming project.
The images above appeared to have been generated by artificial intelligence (AI). Reverse-image results did not show any examples of the images other than those in random social media posts, and a post on the AI image-generation site PlaygroundAI that appeared to be created on May 2, 2023. The image in which Smith was making a fist also showed him with six knuckles. As we have noted before, extra fingers or lips are often a characteristic of AI-generated images.
After Smith's infamous slap — that is, when he hit Chris Rock onstage at the 2022 Oscars after Rock referenced Jada Pinkett Smith's alopecia — he faced heavy criticism and issued a number of apologies. After the incident, Netflix put one of its films with Smith, "Fast and Loose," on the back burner, though it was unknown if that was a timing coincidence or because of the slap. As of March 2023, "Fast and Loose" was back on track to be produced with Smith in a leading role.
The images also spread after a controversy over a Netflix docuseries about Queen Cleopatra produced by Jada Pinkett Smith, in which a mixed-race darker-skinned actress was cast to play the titular queen. The casting resulted in accusations of "blackwashing," as some scholars claimed the queen was light-skinned and of European heritage.
While Smith will reportedly be playing a leader of a criminal organization in "Fast and Loose," it is unlikely that he would be playing Hitler and there was no evidence to indicate that was the case.
If Will Smith was actually playing Hitler in a film or series, that simple fact would be making headline news, and the photographs would be published by an entertainment news publication. However, given that they were AI-generated fake images and there was no announcement by Netflix about such a series, we rate this claim as "False."