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Will Smith has announced his first movie role in “Emancipation’ since making international headlines during this years Oscar’s ceremony for “the slap.”
According to CNN, Smith portrays an enslaved man who “embarks on a perilous journey to reunite with his family” in the film.
According to Hollywood Reporter, the film, based on a true story, follows Peter (Smith), a runaway enslaved man who journeyed north, outwitting cold-blooded hunters and surviving the unforgiving swamps of Louisiana along the way. After escaping to freedom, Peter joined the Union Army.
When he showed his bare back during an army medical examination, photos were taken of the scars from a near-fatal whipping delivered by an overseer on the plantation owned by John and Bridget Lyons. The Independent published the photo, known as The Scourged Back, in May of 1863. It appeared in Harper’s Weekly‘s July 4 issue and became indisputable proof of the cruelty and barbarity of slavery in America.
Set for limited theatre release on Dec. 2, the Antoine Fuqua directed film will stream on Apple TV+ one week after its theatre debut.
Smith, who won his first Academy Award in March when he took home the best actor trophy for his role in “King Richard,” has been banned from the awards ceremony for 10 years after slapping Chris Rock live on stage.
Amid the fallout, Netflix put the Smith movie Fast and Loose on the back burner and has not committed to a release date to this point. On July 29, Smith released a video in which he gave his most extensive remarks about the situation yet, noting, “there is no part of me that thinks that was the right way to behave in that moment.”
Smith is also prohibited from attending any Academy event for the next 10 years, however, he is still eligible to be nominated.