Will Smith Stars In The Haunting Trailer For ‘Emancipation,’ His First Post-Slap Movie

Will Smith has stayed very quiet since The Incident earlier this year that had Hollywood perpetually divided. After taking several months off to meditate and avoid the media, Smith is back with a striking new trailer for the upcoming film Emancipation from Antoine Fuqua, director of The Equalizer franchise.

Inspired by a true story, Emancipation stars Smith, Ben Foster, Steven Ogg, Charmaine Bingwa, Mustafa Shakir, and Timothy Hutton. Here are the official plot details:

Emancipation tells the triumphant story of Peter (Smith), a man who escapes from slavery, relying on his wits, unwavering faith and deep love for his family to evade cold-blooded hunters and the unforgiving swamps of Louisiana on his quest for freedom. The film is inspired by the 1863 photos of “Whipped Peter,” taken during a Union Army medical examination, that first appeared in Harper’s Weekly. One image, known as “The Scourged Back,” which shows Peter’s bare back mutilated by a whipping delivered by his enslavers, ultimately contributed to growing public opposition to slavery.

Despite Smith’s rocky year out of the spotlight, Fuqua said that Apple was nothing but supportive of the film, which was filmed last summer in New Orleans, months before The Slap. “As a filmmaker, you want your work out there, especially something this important,” Fuqua told Deadline last month. “It was Apple, behind the scenes, they were pushing that as well, trying to navigate through the waters. They never stopped talking about releasing the film, and when would be best strategically. Apple would call me often, with Will, and I have to say Apple has been amazing through this whole film. We moved from Georgia to Louisiana, and they never blinked. We weathered hurricanes, Covid, all those things.”

Even though Smith will be unable to snag an Academy Award for this film due to being banned from the ceremony, Fuqua says he just hopes the actor is able to move on from the ordeal. “Will Smith is a great guy. I was with him for a couple of years, making this movie. He is a wonderful person, an amazing partner and he did an amazing job on this movie. Chris Rock’s a good guy, I know Chris as well…and I just pray it works out for them as friends, and we can move forward.” Yes! It’s time to move forward.

Emancipation will be released in select theaters on December 2nd, and streaming on AppleTV+ on December 9th.