Will Smith is finally making a return to acting after the Oscars controversy last March. Emancipation, an Apple original film, dropped its new trailer this Monday. Directed and produced by Antoine Fuqua, the movie marks Smith’s first acting project after the incident at the 94th Academy Awards.
Smith plays Peter, a man trying to escape slavery during the American Civil War. “I heard it myself – slaves are free,” says Smith in the introduction of the trailer. His character will embark on a dangerous quest to freedom. “There are many ways to die in a swamp,” says a fellow slave. “There are many ways to die here,” answers Peter.
Will Smith’s Comeback Movie Project ‘Emancipation’
Set in Louisiana, Peter will have to survive many obstacles, from ruthless soldiers to deadly swamps, in order to free himself. The official synopsis of the movie reads:
“Emancipation tells the triumphant story of Peter (Smith), a man who escapes from slavery, 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. The film 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,’ which shows Peter’s bare back mutilated by a whipping delivered by his enslavers, ultimately contributed to growing public opposition to slavery.”
Smith talked about the movie and his character at a conference moderated by Angela Rye. The actor said, (via People):
“Throughout my career, I’ve turned down many films that were set in slavery. I never wanted to show us like that. And then this picture came along. And this is not a film about slavery. This is a film about freedom. This is a film about resilience. This is a film about faith. This is a film about the heart of a man — what could be called the first viral image. Cameras had just been created, and the image of whipped Peter went around the world.”
The actor also mentioned that the story of the viral photo is a cry against slavery, and that it made him want to be part of a movie inspired by this narrative.
Bouncing Back After The Oscars Controversy
After the controversial slap at the Oscars, Smith kept a low profile. Fans would remember that the actor slapped Chris Rock after the comedian made a joke about Smith’s wife who suffers from alopecia. As a consequence, Smith was banned from attending Academy events for ten years.
The actor has issued a public apology following the incident and admitted that he was wrong and embarrassed by his action. Emancipation will be Will Smith’s comeback project, and fans have shown support for the actor. Check out their tweets:
I’ll be supporting Will Smith and Emancipation. I never canceled him. https://t.co/I8HX0j7AXd
— Stephanie. (@qsteph) October 3, 2022
Will Smith has my support. It never ceased . Hope this latest project is hugely successful. https://t.co/4Yil8aA0zI
— S.O.D Save Our Democracies (@brenbrenchie) October 3, 2022
And I will see it because I want to support Will Smith's career after Hollywood tried to turn us against him https://t.co/vEx39WPkXQ
— rootbeercutiebooty (@rootbeercutieb1) October 4, 2022
Smith’s fans also expressed their dread with another slave movie, yet they showed support towards the actor. Some have also confessed that they neither canceled him nor left the fan base. Emancipation arrives this December 9 on Apple TV+.