Will Smith is set to star in the action thriller “Emancipation,” which will be directed by Antoine Fuqua.
William N. Collage penned the script, based on the true story of Peter, a runaway slave forced to outwit cold-blooded hunters and the unforgiving swamps of Louisiana on a tortuous journey North. There he joined the Union Army.
Production is expected to start early in 2021.
The thriller is based on a true story, fueled by an indelible image; when Peter showed his bare back during an Army medical examination, photos were taken of the scars from a whipping delivered by an overseer on the plantation owned by John and Bridget Lyons that nearly killed him. When the photo known as “the scourged back” was published by the Independent in May, 1863 and then in Harper’s Weekly‘s July 4 issue, it became indisputable proof of the cruelty and barbarity of slavery in America. The photo reached around the world, and legend has it that it made countries like France refuse to buy cotton from the South. It solidified the cause of abolitionists and prompted many free blacks to join the Union Army.
Will Smith, James Lassiter and Jon Mone will produce “Emancipation” through Westbrook Studios, along with McFarland Entertainment’s Joey McFarland and Escape Artists’ Todd Black. Fuqua will executive produce under his Fuqua Films banner, alongside Cliff Roberts.
CAA Media Finance, which arranged the financing for the film, represents U.S. rights; Film Nation Entertainment represents international sales. The movie will also be introduced to buyers at the upcoming virtual Cannes market.
Both Smith and Fuqua were in the middle of productions that were halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Smith had to stop filming on Warner Bros.’ biopic “King Richard,” in which Smith portrays the father and coach of tennis icons Venus and Serena Williams. Meanwhile, Fuqua was in post-production on Paramount’s action thriller “Infinite.”
Smith most recently starred in Paramount’s sci-fi epic “Gemini Man,” as well as Disney’s smash hit “Aladdin,” where he played the Genie.
Source of this news is Deadline
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