Will Smith has spoken about the intensity of the six months of filming his latest film, the slavery drama emancipation.
In the film, directed by Antoine Fuqua, Smith plays a slave named Peter who escapes captivity and fights with Abraham Lincoln’s army during the American Civil War.
Ben Foster plays a slave hunter who relentlessly pursues Smith’s character through the swamps of Louisiana.
Speaking in the latest episode of Conversation at the Red TableSmith explained how Foster blanked him out on the first day of shooting – an approach Smith had great respect for.
“Ben just walked past me and didn’t say anything,” he said. “I thought, ‘Oh, he must not have seen me.’ And then he didn’t speak to me for six months, he didn’t make eye contact with me, he didn’t say a word. He didn’t recognize me for six months.
“But what he did on that first day was like, ‘Yeah, got it.’ we don’t play That is real. That is serious. We don’t play around with these ideas. I really have to thank Ben for clicking me into the next gear of depth and focus.”
Smith then recounted how Foster first came to the monitor on the last day of shooting to watch a shot with Smith and Fuqua. “He looks at the shot and Antoine says, ‘I’m happy. We got it,’” Smith recalled.
“Then I look over at Ben, it’s the last day and he [extends his hand] and says, ‘Nice to meet you.’”
Through tears of laughter, Smith added, “We went through the whole movie together. And the whole time he wasn’t going to his trailer, he stayed in his character tent all day and had all his stuff in his character tent.”
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Smith said that months after production wrapped and the two actors got back together to do press, he felt like he didn’t know Foster. “I thought, ‘Who are you? You good soul, you’,” Smith said.
Meanwhile, a clip of Foster was shown, in which he said: “I’m blown away by what Will Smith has done in this film… we have to reflect on our past to do justice to our present day, and our present day is fuller frightening similarities to what happened during this true story when that happened.”
Elsewhere in Conversation at the Red Table In the episode, Smith recalled being trapped in chains for 15 minutes as the crew frantically searched for keys, and like one emancipation Co-Star spat at him during an impromptu take.
Read The Independent‘s review of the film here, and find out what Fuqua had to say about working with Smith and the Oscar gossip here.
https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/will-smith-ben-foster-emancipation-b2245402.html Will Smith says Emancipation co-star Ben Foster didn’t make eye contact with him for six months during filming