Will Smith is bouncing back months after his infamous slap at the Oscars.
While the 54-year-old actor has mostly stayed out of the limelight since beating presenter Chris Rock at the ceremony earlier this year, he has a new project in the works that’s already causing quite a stir.
Smith’s first post-Oscar film, titled “Emancipation,” had a special screening hosted by the NAACP during the 51st Annual Legislative Conference of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation on Oct. 1.
In the drama, Smith plays a runway slave named Peter who finds asylum in Louisiana and eventually joins the Union Army.
The film drew early praise at the event when the ‘King Richard’ star made an appearance.
“Throughout my career, I’ve turned down a lot of films that were set in slavery,” Smith noted, via the Hollywood Reporter, at the screening. “I never wanted to show it to us like that. And then came this picture. And this is not a film about slavery. This is a film about freedom. This is a film about resilience. This is a film about faith.”
“This is a film about a man’s heart — what could be considered the first viral image,” added the father-of-three.
An 1863 photograph of the enslaved man, with scars on his back after being severely flogged, “became one of the most widely circulated images of slavery of his time,” History.com reported. Called “The Scourged Back” or “Whipped Peter”, was used in campaigns by abolitionists to end slavery.
“Cameras had just come out, and the picture of ‘Whipped Peter’ went around the world,” noted Smith. “It was a call against slavery and this was a story that exploded and blossomed in my heart that I wanted to deliver to you in a way only Antoine Fuqua could.”
NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson praised the film in a tweet after the event.
“I had the pleasure of seeing the movie #Emancipation and I can’t begin to express how powerful it is for OUR community and OUR story,” Johnson said. “It’s a story of adversity, resilience, love and triumph. Thank you Antoine Fuqua and Will Smith for sharing your gifts! #ThatIsPower.”
Though the Apple TV project doesn’t have a release date yet, it’s expected to premiere in 2023.
https://nypost.com/2022/10/03/will-smiths-post-oscars-film-emancipation-earns-applause/ Will Smith’s post-Oscar film Emancipation deserves applause