For the better part of three decades, Will Smith has been one of the biggest box office draws in Hollywood. But at the moment, everything in his career is overshadowed by the fact that he slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars earlier this year. The incident has hung over Smith’s head for months, but stars have weathered PR disasters before, and Hollywood loves a comeback story. Apple TV+’s new film Emancipation may be the start of that comeback for Smith, if the first trailer for the film is any indication of what’s to come.
Emancipation is based upon a true story, and it features Smith as an African man named Peter who endures the cruel nature of slavery. Peter knows that he is meant to be free, and he knows that Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation can deliver him from this evil if he can only escape his shackles. Once Peter can get loose from his chains, the only thing standing between him and freedom is a treacherous swamp. And at Peter’s back are cruel bounty hunters who will do anything to return him to bondage.
In the trailer, Peter is driven by more than just a desire to be free. He also wants to see his enemies defeated. That’s why he’s looking for the Union Army with a desire to join their ranks. Peter’s journey to the North is fraught with danger, but he will never back down to the men who forced him into slavery.
Ben Foster also stars in the film as Fassel, with Steven Ogg as Sergeant Howard, Charmaine Bingwa as Dodienne, Gilbert Owuor as Gordon, Mustafa Shakir as Andre Cailloux, Grant Harvey as Leeds, Ronnie Gene Blevins as Harrington, Jayson Warner Smith as Captain John Lyons, Jabbar Lewis as Tomas, Michael Luwoye as John, Aaron Moten as Knowls, and Imani Pullum as Betsy.
Antoine Fuqua directed the movie from a script by William N. Collage. Emancipation will have a limited theatrical release on December 2 before coming to Apple TV+ on December 9.
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