Will Smith is back in business sooner than expected with the action thriller “Emancipation,” as Apple Original Films has set the film for a Dec. 2 theatrical release, followed by a Dec. 9 release on Apple TV+.
Though “Emancipation” had originally been set for a 2022 release date, Apple delayed the film to 2023. Now that delay has been reversed, making this film a potential Oscar contender.
The teaser shows Smith as Peter, a slave who escapes from a Lousiana plantation after being whipped nearly to death. The film follows Peter on his journey to freedom, as he outwits his hunters and makes his way north, where he joins the Union Army. The film is based on the true story of “Whipped Peter,” after photos of his bare back, which was mutilated by a whipping, were published in 1863, revealing the brutality of slavery.
The film also stars Mustafa Shakir as Andre Cailloux, Ben Foster as Fassel, Steven Ogg as Sergeant Howard, Charmaine Bingwa as Dodienne, Imani Pullam as Betsy, Gilbert Owuor as Gordon and Aaron Clifton Moten as Knowls.
“Emancipation” is directed by Antoine Fuqua and written by William N. Collage. Will Smith and Jon Mone through Westbrook Studios, Joey McFarland though McFarland Entertainment and Todd Black through Escape Artists are producers. Chris Brigham, James Lassiter, Heather Washington, Cliff Roberts, Glen Basner and Scott Greenberg are executive producers.
According to Apple, the film had its first private screening on Saturday, and the NAACP hosted a screening of the film at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 51st annual Legislative Conference in DC.
Watch the trailer here or in the embed above.