Chris Rock isn’t pulling out of hosting for the Oscars – in fact he’s working on a whole new script.
Academy Awards producer Reginald Hudlin told Entertainment Tonight at the 47th NAACP Image Awards Nominee Luncheon on Saturday that Rock, 50, is “hard at work.”
“He and his writing staff locked themselves in a room,” Hudlin said. “As things got a little provocative and exciting, he said, ‘I’m throwing out the show I wrote and writing a new show.’ ”
Hudlin also confirmed that the comedian – who often addresses issues of race in his movies and stand-up – would be including some #OscarsSoWhite jokes during the show.
“And, yes, the Academy is ready for him to do that,” Hudlin said. “They’re excited about him doing that. They know that’s what we need. They know that’s what the public wants, and we deliver what the people want.
“Chris is that thorough,” he added. “He’s that brilliant, and I have 1000 percent confidence that he will deliver something that people will be talking about for weeks.”
Rock previously joked about the Academy Awards’ ongoing race issue, which resurfaced earlier this month after no people of color were nominated for any of the major acting categories and only one non-white person – Mexican director Alejandro Gonzélez Iñérritu – was nominatedfor best director, when he tweeted a promo for the show and called it “the white BET Awards.”
“There is no joke that he can crack. There is no way for him to seize the moment and come into this thing and say, ‘I’m going to say this and say that I’m going to address the issue but then I’m still going to keep my gig as the host,’ ” Gibson told PEOPLE earlier this week. “The statement that you make is that you step down.”
However, not everyone has called for Rock to step back from hosting. Marlon Wayans told PEOPLE that the comedian was the perfect person to address the controversy.
“There’s no greater person to talk about this than Chris Rock,” he said.
The 88th Annual Academy Awards will air Feb. 28 at 8:30 p.m. (ET) on ABC.