Emancipation Director Defends Release After Oscar Slap Will Smith

When Apple announced in October that it would have Emancipation in theaters by the end of the year, many moviegoers scratched their heads: How can any studio release a Will Smith vehicle in the same year that it released Chris Rock at the Oscars slapped ? Emancipation director Antoine Fuqua has never had problems with the release date of the slavery drama.

“The movie is bigger to me than this moment,” Fuqua told Vanity Fair. “400 years of slavery is bigger than a moment. I hope people take that view and watch the film and get carried away by the amazing performance by Will and all the really hard work that the whole crew has put in.”

Based on a true story, Emancipation stars Smith as a runaway slave named Peter, better known to the world as “Whipped Peter” after photos of keloid scars on his back were distributed to show the brutality of slavery. The film follows Peter as he navigates the Louisiana swamps to escape the plantation owners who nearly killed him.

According to Fuqua, the commitment to release the film in 2022 was “a full conversation with Apple,” but “there was never a conversation with me and Apple or my producers about the film Not come out.”

“Obviously I wanted people to see the film,” Fuqua said. “My conversation was always: ‘Isn’t 400 years of slavery, brutality, more important than one bad moment?’ We’ve been to Hollywood, and some really ugly things have happened, and we’ve seen a lot of people get awards for doing some really ugly things. So I think Apple considered all of those things, and we discussed a lot of those things. Then a decision was made by the people who run sales and money at Apple — and I’m grateful, I’m really grateful.”

Fuqua said that Smith “was kind to everyone on set,” which is why watching the Oscars and seeing the actor slap Chris Rock in the face was so shocking.

“Will walked around and hugged and shook hands — we had about 300 extras and military,” Fuqua said. “We had certain extras who were the bodies in the graves and he would give them money for lying there in this 100+ degree heat.”

While Fuqua didn’t want to make excuses for Smith’s behavior at the Oscars, he reminded people that it was then that Smith walked away from the brutal filming of the movie “Emancipation,” which certainly took its emotional toll on the actor.

“The movie was supposed to end in October, but we didn’t finish this movie until January because of a hurricane, the heat, COVID, a tornado and 12 other things,” Fuqua said. “It was just crazy, really. It’s really hard to let go of a character who’s been brutalized every day and called the N-word – all the time, every day – and still be the nicest person alive. that i know So no excuses for anyone or anything but I can say he’s a good man and I hope people can forgive him and that we can move forward.”

Fuqua concluded, “I hope Chris and Will find a way to sit down publicly, privately or whatever and make amends. I think it would be an incredible statement.”

Emancipation hits theaters on December 2nd and will start streaming on Apple TV+ on December 9th.

https://variety.com/2022/film/news/emanciaption-director-defends-release-will-smith-oscars-slap-1235433419/ Emancipation Director Defends Release After Oscar Slap Will Smith

Charles Jones

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