Will Smith is set to play a Black man fighting for his freedom in the upcoming runaway-slave movie, Emancipation, helmed by Training Day director Antoine Fuqua.

It is the real-life story of a slave named Peter, who goes through the swamps of Louisiana and eventually joins the Union Army. A photo that is known as “the scourged back,” was published in May 1865 and told a vivid portion of his story.

Emancipation will cover that compelling story, but it will be first and foremost an action thriller. Fuqua told Deadline: “It was the first viral image of the brutality of slavery that the world saw, which is interesting, when you put it into perspective with today and social media and what the world is seeing, again. You can’t fix the past, but you can remind people of the past, and I think we have to, in an accurate, real way. We all have to look for a brighter future for us all for everyone. That’s one of the most important reasons to do things right now, is show our history. We have to face our truth before we can move forward.”

The film will be presented to buyers at the Cannes Film Festival’s virtual market. Fans are a little bit on the fence so far.

One of them stated: “All we have is slave movies! Can we have some of where our real history started!” A second observer chimed in: “We need Movies based on kings and queens from Africa. We can also do tribes as well. Were we only slaves? Is that what Hollywood see us as?”

A third person added: “Where are the kings and queens that we came from? Before we were slaves, we owned kingdoms. Stop with the slave movies now! Christ! We are more thank slaves, damnit!!!🤬”

Smith, 51, will start working on the project as soon as he is done filming King Richard, which was put on pause during the COVID-19 shutdown.

In it, Smith portrays Richard Williams, the father of tennis legends — Serena Williams and Venus Williams. The iconic mother of one said that her dad was essential in her success, and she added: “It all started with an idea. It was his idea. It’s changed sports. It’s changed history. He’s been the most important person in my career.”


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