Will Smith to Play Real-Life Runaway Slave in New Movie Emancipation

Will Smith's next movie follows a real-life slave fighting for his freedom

Will Smith
Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty

Will Smith is next set to take on the timely tale of a black man's fight for his freedom.

Smith, 51, is poised to star in the film Emancipation as Peter, a real-life runaway slave who fought to evade his hunters through the Louisiana swamp in his journey to join the Union army.

Emancipation counts on Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) as director with William N. Collage writing the script. Fuqua has a long resume and has worked with film icons like Morgan Freeman and Denzel Washington, who he was collaborated with several times.

Variety reports the movie will be introduced to buyers at Cannes Film Festival's virtual market. It's set to start filming in 2021.

Smith, James Lassiter and Jon Mone will serve as producers through Westbrook Studios with McFarland Entertainment’s Joey McFarland and Escape Artists’ Todd Black. Fuqua will executive produce under his Fuqua Films banner, alongside Cliff Roberts.

The movie will be Smith's next one after he finishes up King Richard, which was shut down mid-filming due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

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Smith plays Richard Williams in the biopic all about Serena Williams and Venus Williams' father. Despite having no experience in the sport, Richard, now 78, turned his daughters into two of the sports' all-time greatest athletes, with Serena arguably taking the top spot in its history.

When Serena, now 38, and Venus, now 39, were children, Richard wrote up a 78-page plan to make them tennis stars. He began giving lessons to his daughters when they were 4-years-old.

Smith was spotted filming in late February with a gray beard, black ball cap, gray sweatshirt, black leggings, white pants and a black and white checkered jacket, looking remarkably like Richard.

“It all started with an idea,” Serena once said. “It was his idea. It’s changed sports. It’s changed history.”

“He’s been the most important person in my career,” she added.

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