The official trailer for Will Smith’s Apple TV+ original film Emancipation has arrived. Will Smith stars as a runaway slave named Peter who is searching for freedom in the unforgiving swamps of Louisiana. If you don’t remember, Will Smith was in the news earlier this year when he delivered a slap on live TV to Chris Rock during The 94th Academy Awards. Since then, various projects have distanced themselves from the Oscar winner, but Apple is moving ahead with Emancipation, giving the film a theatrical release on December 2nd along with its Apple TV+ debut a week later on December 9th.
Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, The Equalizer) is the director and executive producer of Emancipation. According to The New York Times, Apple executives had considered delaying the film until 2023, but that obviously isn’t the case anymore. A December release does leave Emancipation eligible for awards consideration. The film is poised to be the first theatrical release for Smith following his Oscars slap controversy, with some reports speculating it could have potentially led to the actor winning back-to-back Oscars, following his Best Actor win this year for King Richard.
Production Delays for Will Smith’s Apple TV+ Movie Emancipation
August 2021 saw Emancipation starring Will Smith forced to halt production because of a positive COVID-19 test. A result was some of the crew members were forced to quarantine in Louisiana. Another change to Emancipation involved moving production from Georgia to Louisiana in protest of Georgia’s voting restriction laws.
“At this moment in time, the nation is coming to terms with its history and is attempting to eliminate vestiges of institutional racism to achieve true racial justice,” the filmmakers said in a joint statement. “We cannot in good conscience provide economic support to a government that enacts regressive voting laws that are designed to restrict voter access. The new Georgia voting laws are reminiscent of voting impediments that were passed at the end of Reconstruction to prevent many Americans from voting. Regrettably, we feel compelled to move our film production work from Georgia to another state.”
Chris Rock Declines Hosting 2023 Oscars After Will Smith Slap
Don’t plan on seeing Chris Rock at next year’s Academy Awards. After Will Smith infamously slapped the comedian earlier this year at the 2022 Oscars, Rock revealed in a recent stand-up set that the Academy invited him back to host the annual film gala. According to the Arizona Republic, Rock made the revelation during a stand-up stop, comparing it to the OJ Simpson murder trial and asking Nicole Brown Simpson “to go back to the restaurant.”
Rock also reportedly turned down an offer to appear in a Super Bowl advertisement, something sure to lampoon the moment.
Earlier this summer, Smith finally posted an apology to the comedian, whom he slapped after Rock made a joke about the hairstyle worn by Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith.
“It’s all fuzzy. I’ve reached out to Chris and the message that came back is he is not ready to talk,” Smith said in his YouTube apology. “And when he is, he will reach out. So, I will say to you Chris, I apologize to you. My behavior was unacceptable and I’m here whenever you’re ready to talk.”
Emancipation arrives in theaters on December 2nd and Apple TV+ on December 9th.