Emancipation: Will Smith fights to get back to his family in the trailer for the new Civil War epic

Right from his Oscar win and…the infamous one unintended event from that night, Will Smith is back for another dramatic twist. This time, Smith stars in a historical drama inspired by true events from director Antoine Fuqua. The new Civil War movie is one Apple Original called Emancipation and finds Will as a slave escaping his plantation to return to his family, and the new trailer debuts online.

Film synopsis per The deadline reads,

“The film follows Peter (Smith), a man escaping slavery, relying on his wits, his unwavering faith and his deep love for his family to evade cold-blooded hunters and the unforgiving swamps of Louisiana on his quest for freedom. It is inspired of the 1863 photos of ‘Whipped Peter’ taken during a Union Army medical examination that first appeared in Harper’s Weekly. An image known as ‘The Whipped Back’, showing Peter’s bare back mutilated by a whip from his enslavers, ultimately contributed to growing public opposition to slavery.”

This is a more intense role for Smith, who usually takes part in light blockbuster films. Although he has been known to take on some serious roles with very dark themes, including those dealing with suicide, in films such as Seven pounds and Collateral Beauty. He is also one of those who portrays inspiration through adversity, which he demonstrated with his Oscar-winning role in King Richard.

Ironically, Smith also turned down a freed slave role as the titular character in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, which, while on paper it looks like this new role, would have been an interesting direction for him to take. Smith has admitted to turning down the project because the character he wanted to play did not kill the bad guy, as that honor had gone to the Christoph Waltz character.

Emancipation was bought in Cannes virtually in 2020 by Apple, beating out six other bidders. This film is the biggest festival claim in history, with the final price of $120 million.

Emancipationation coming to the cinema December 12 and streams on AppleTV+ for the next week.

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