Will you be watching?
After months of, well, you know, Will Smith returned with the trailer for Apple Original Films’ ‘Emancipation’ (directed and executive produced by Antoine Fuqua) which tells the triumphant story of escaped slave Peter (Smith) relying on his wits, unwavering faith and deep love for his family to evade cold-blooded hunters and the unforgiving swamps of Louisiana on his quest for freedom.
“I’ve always avoided making films about slavery,” said Smith in an interview with GQ.
“In the early part of my career… I didn’t want to show Black people in that light. I wanted to be a superhero. So I wanted to depict Black excellence alongside my white counterparts. I wanted to play roles that you would give to Tom Cruise. And the first time I considered it was Django. But I didn’t want to make a slavery film about vengeance.”
Peep the brutal trailer below:
The film also stars Ben Foster, Charmaine Bingwa, Gilbert Owuor, Mustafa Shakir, Steven Ogg, Grant Harvey, Ronnie Gene Bivens, Jayson Warner Smith, Jabbar Lewis, Michael Luwoye, Aaron Moten, and Imani Pullum.
‘Emancipation’ is inspired by the 1863 photos of ‘Whipped Peter’ taken during a Union Army medical examination that first appeared in Harper’s Weekly.
One image known as ‘The Scourged Back’ shows Peter’s bare back mutilated by a whipping delivered by his enslavers, ultimately contributed to growing public opposition to slavery.
The film announcement was made following an advance screening of “Emancipation” hosted with the NAACP during the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 51st Annual Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C.
There, Fuqua, Smith and Mary Elliott, curator of American Slavery at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, participated in a conversation about the film moderated by politics and culture commentator Angela Rye.
‘Emancipation” premieres in theaters on December 2, 2022 and globally on Apple TV+ on December 9, 2022.