Will Smith embraces spirituality in his new film “Emancipation”

When Will Smith slapped the host of an Oscar award, Chris Rock, on March 27, a great wave of criticism of the violence on stage automatically triggered the idea that his days as a Hollywood star were over.

With the premiere of “Emancipation” (2022), the Academy winner for King Richard (2021), returned to present himself, this time, as a man anti-violence and who uses his profession as an actor to denounce its consequences. The Apple TV + production, which premieres on December 9 on its platform, was filmed in the summer of 2021 in New Orleans, half a year before Smith derailed his career at the 94th Oscar delivery.

The irony happens in a story that revolves around Peter (Smith), a man who is a victim of beating violence in the slavery era in the United States, whose photographs were instrumental in raising awareness and the future abolition of slavery in the United States.

“I made ‘Emancipation’ to go back to where we are today in the United States, adding up all the changes that are happening throughout the world,” he explained at the film’s presentation, held in Los Angeles. “I chose the project because I wanted it to serve as a reminder of the tragic end that can come from pain and brutality between people. I wanted to create something with director Antoine Fuqua (Training Days), that was brutal; but that would lead the spectator to open his heart to compassion and empathy”, added Smith.

The Philadelphia-born used the premiere of this film to distance himself from the events of the Oscar 2022, after a series of acts of contrition that began on July 29 with a video publicly apologizing to the comedian Rock and then, this start weekday being invited by Trevor Noah to his late-night television show where he revived the actions after Chris pranked his wife Jada Pinkett Smith. “It was a horrible night. I was going through something. It is not justification, but they were a set of many things. Something more complex. I was partly that child who saw his father hit his mother. And everything exploded in that instant. It’s not what I want to be,” Smith told Noah. On this occasion, Will was less frontal about what happened at the beginning of the year; he chose to make an indirect contrast between his character and what a recognized Hollywood figure lives, surrounded by different problems: “I was surprised by his approach to life (that of his character) full of gratitude, I think that this level of faith was his quality central and being able to farm that is something I would like to do myself,” he said.

Set in the time of slavery, “Emancipation” follows in the footsteps of Peter, a real-life slave whose scars spread in a photograph across the United States in 1863 ignited the social abolition movement. Producer Joey McFarland uploaded the black and white image in front of the international press, as a symbol of the film’s inspiration. “I saw that photo when I was very young and now I believe that each of those scars are stories to tell. It was not just once that he was beaten, but a lifetime. In the stuff Peter wrote he even talked about a beating that left him in a coma. And he said that being in a coma he met God. And when he woke up still alive, he was in a new place of faith and revelations,” Smith explained. “That was one of the most interesting aspects for me, when I got to see the difference in meaning between faith and revelation. Faith is when you are trying to hold on, revelation is when you listen to the voice. Peter reached a level of consciousness that I myself would aspire to be, “reiterated the actor, 54 years old.

Accompanied by his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith and their children, including Jaden and Willow Smith, the so-called “Prince of Rap” did not stop talking about the impact of impersonating a spiritual man. “My favorite moment in the film is when, through the hell he’s living through, walking through the swamps, he stops to raise his hands in the air and praise God. It’s a kind of gratitude where he’s almost grateful for his suffering.”

At the time of his premiere, at the Westwood movie theater, Will made people laugh when the organizers asked him to stand under a light. “It’s a metaphor. You know. From standing under a reflector and having it on my head, ”he said before thanking.

Will Smith embraces spirituality in his new film “Emancipation” – N Digital