After coming up trumps in a seven-way bidding war to acquire the rights to Antoine Fuqua‘s (Training Day, Brooklyn’s Finest) period drama Emancipation ahead of the virtual Cannes in 2020, Apple TV+ have today dropped the official trailer to the film that now marks the largest film acquisition deal in history.
Fuqua directed the film from a screenplay penned by William N. Collage (Allegiant, Assassin’s Creed) which was inspired by the 1863 photos of “Whipped Peter,” an escaped American slave who became known as the subject of photographs documenting the extensive keloid scarring of his back from whippings received in slavery. One image, known as “The Scourged Back,” became one of the most widely circulated photographs of the abolitionist movement during the American Civil War and remains one of the most infamous photos of that era, ultimately contributing to growing public opposition to slavery.
The film follows Peter (Will 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.
Smith’s co-stars include Ben Foster, Charmaine Bingwa, Gilbert Owuor, Mustafa Shakir, Steven Ogg, Grant Harvey, Ronnie Gene Blevins, Jayson Warner Smith, Jabbar Lewis, Michael Luwoye, Aaron Clifton Moten and Imani Pullum.
The Apple Original Film is produced by Will Smith and Jon Mone through Westbrook Studios, Joey McFarland though McFarland Entertainment and Todd Black through Escape Artists. Chris Brigham, Antoine Fuqua, James Lassiter, Heather Washington, Cliff Roberts, Glen Basner and Scott Greenberg are executive producing.
Emancipation is set to premiere in theaters on December 2, 2022, followed by a December 9 release on Apple TV+.