Will Smith’s ‘Emancipation’ drops full-length trailer

The upcoming Apple Original Film marks Smith's return after the controversy surrounding his actions at the Oscars in March.

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The next movie starring Will Smith is on the way.

“Emancipation,” the highly anticipated movie from Apple Original Films, has dropped its first official full-length trailer, giving audiences a sneak peek into the Academy Award winner’s next role — as a runaway slave.

As theGrio previously reported, “Emancipation” stands as Smith’s return to film following his acclaimed performance in last year’s “King Richard” movie, a role that led to his eventual Oscar win for Best Actor. That Academy Awards ceremony in March was the site of the on-stage altercation between Smith and Chris Rock, leading to subsequent widespread backlash, in media and outside of it, regarding his much-talked-about surprise slap of the comic-actor.

Will Smith stars as a runaway slave in “Emancipation,” the highly anticipated movie from Apple Original Films. Its official full-length trailer has just been released. (Photo: Screenshot/YouTube.com/Apple TV)

Now, after nearly eight months of withdrawal from the public eye, Smith is returning to audiences in “Emancipation,” a film rooted in history, in which he stars as Peter, a slave in the 1800s who escapes captivity.

“Give thanks to God, the Lord is with us,” Peter tells his family in the intense trailer for the film from Antoine Fuqua. “What can a mere man do to me?”

Inspired by the man in the 1863 published photos of “Whipped Peter” — particularly the photo titled “The Scourged Back,” an image that would go on to help shift the public’s perception of slavery in this country — “Emancipation” sees Peter taken away from his family, eventually finding himself on the run from his captors, hiding in the forest and in rivers, even joining the Union forces at one point.

Peter proclaims at the end of the trailer: “I fight them. They beat me. They whip me. They break the bones in my body more times than I can count. But they never, never break me.”

The film also stars Ben Foster, Charmaine Bingwa, Gilbert Owuor, Mustafa Shakir and Steven Ogg.

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

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