Will Smith is back. The Oscar-winning actor’s return to the screen will be with a new film titled Emancipation. Emancipation is based on a true story of a slave named Peter (played by Smith) who embarks on a journey to get his freedom. He plans his escape from the plantation after hearing about President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. During the two-minute trailer, Peter’s journey is filled with slave hunters and the swamps of Louisiana that he must overcome in order to become free and return to his family he’s left behind. The film is inspired by the 1863 photo of “Whipped Peter,” an enslaved man who joined the Union Army in hopes of being reunited with his family.
In an interview with Deadline, director Antoine Fuqua saidm “Will [Smith] is on a whole different level, in this film. Incredible,” Fuqua said.
Smith took to Instagram to share his thoughts on the film: “This was the hardest movie I’ve ever made. Blood, Sweat & Tears… LITERALLY! Shoutout to Apple who doubled (and tripled) down on their commitment to deliver this epic story to the world.”
This is Smith’s first film since the infamous Oscars slap that had him banned from the Academy for 10 years. In the same Deadline interview, Fuqua spoke about his thoughts on Will’s perseverance through the scrutiny while making Emancipation.
“Will Smith is a great guy. I was with him for a couple of years, making this movie,” he said. “He is a wonderful person, an amazing partner and he did an amazing job on this movie. Chris Rock’s a good guy, I know Chris as well…and I just pray it works out for them as friends, and we can move forward.”
The Apple TV+ original film will hit theaters on Dec. 2 and begin streaming on Dec. 9.
Take a look at the trailer below: