Will Smith stars in trailer for Apple’s ‘Emancipation’

The upcoming film was acquired by Apple back in 2020 following its debut at Cannes.

Will Smith’s next act is here. The Academy Award-winning actor stars in the brand new trailer for “Emancipation,” an Apple Original Film that Antoine Fuqua directed and executive produced.

As theGrio previously reported, Apple acquired “Emancipation” in 2020 in what, at the time, was the largest film festival deal ever after debuting at Cannes. Based on a true story, the film features Smith starring as Peter, a man who escaped slavery in the U.S. in the 1800s.

Credit: Apple TV+

The official description of the project says Peter, “relies 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 1863 “Harper’s Weekly” photos of “Whipped Peter,” an enslaved man with a welt-scarred back, inspired the movie. One of the graphic images known as “The Scourged Back” had a profound impact on the perception of slavery in the country.

William N. Collage wrote the script and, in addition to Smith, the film also stars  Ben Foster, Charmaine Bingwa, Gilbert Owuor, Mustafa Shakir, Steven Ogg, Grant Harvey, Ronnie Gene Blevins, Jayson Warner Smith, Jabbar Lewis, Michael Luwoye, Aaron Clifton Moten and Imani Pullum.

The NAACP and the Congressional Black Caucus hosted a private screening of the film during the weekend at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 51st Annual Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. Fuqua and Smith participated in a conversation about the project with Mary Elliott, curator of American Slavery at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Speaking to Deadline about the special screening and why they wanted to tell this story with Smith, Fuqua shared, “For me as a director, doing a film about slavery is daunting. Because you want to get it right, and I’d want to make it as truthful and as authentic as I can. What I found is, it was very inspiring to people. Peter’s image from 1863 inspired me to want to make the film and inspired Will to want to make the film. It seemed to inspire the audience similarly; they clapped and cheered afterward. That was the thing I felt most moved by.”

Check out the trailer below for the upcoming film:

“Emancipation” premieres Dec. 2, 2022 in theaters followed by a global debut Friday, Dec. 9, 2022 on Apple TV+.

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