The director of Will Smith’s new slavery film hopes audiences can look past the infamous #OscarsSlap


Following the Academy Awards earlier this year, moviegoers and industry insiders alike have been wondering what Will Smith’s now-infamous Chris Rock slap in the air will mean for the career of the “King Richard” actor, as well as his future chances at the Oscars.

Now, ahead of the release of Smith’s new film “Emancipation,” director Antoine Fuqua is opening up about all that speculation, and his desire for audiences to focus on the searing narrative at the heart of the film. film, that is, the historical struggle against slavery. in America

“The movie to me is bigger than that moment. Four Hundred Years a Slave is bigger than a moment,” Fuqua told Vanity Fair in an interview published Tuesday about the film, in which Smith he plays a character named Peter, a man who escapes from slavery.

The character was inspired by a historical figure known as “Whipped Peter”, who appeared in graphic photos from 1863 depicting the brutality of slavery.

Director Antoine Fuqua, seen here posing during a photocall on the film's set

Fuqua, who directed Denzel Washington in his best actor Oscar-winning role in 2001’s “Training Day,” added that his hope is that people “see the movie and get swept up in Will’s great performance and all the real hard work.” that the whole crew did.”

Smith, who won the Oscar for best actor this year for his role as Richard Williams, father of tennis stars Venus and Serena, is unable to attend any Academy events or programs, in person or virtually, including same Academy Awards over a period of time. ten years from 2022 as a result of his physical outburst.

That penalty, which was decided after a series of exchanges between Smith and the Academy following the March 27 awards ceremony, does not prevent the actor from being nominated for another statuette.

“Emancipation” will hit theaters in limited release in December. 2 before it begins streaming on Apple TV+ a week later, meaning both the film and Smith will be eligible for Oscars this awards season.

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