Apple+’s slave escape drama film 'Emancipation' was initially supposed to be released later this year.
Will Smith's career is experiencing a nosedive following the Oscars slap incident. Over the course of a month, he has had multiple projects stalled. Joining this list is the film Emancipation.
Apple+’s slave escape drama film was already in post-production when the incident occurred. The film was initially supposed to be released later this year, around Fall. But the project has been stalled. The release date had not been confirmed so far but it was announced that the film will be released in 2023 now, as reported by Variety. It would have otherwise been the first release with Smith following "slap gate."
Following the success of CODA, which was released through the Apple TV+, and went on to win Best Picture at the Oscars, Emancipation was expected to be the next big film from Apple. A director who had seen previews of the film had predicted, “Will’s going to win back-to-back,” in reference to the actor winning the Oscar for Best Actor for his role in King Richard this year. But Smith's outburst overshadowed both these moments.
But now the release of the film is still undecided. A source familiar with the situation said: “it’s the unspoken truth” that the action-drama will not hit the platform in 2022. They also, however, revealed there have been ongoing internal discussions between Apple executives and the filmmakers to possibly be able to move forward the release of the film forward. But it does not seem very likely. The film was written by Bill Collage, was directed by Antoine Fuqua, and also stars Ben Foster (The Survivor). Smith played Peter, the slave whose story inspired the movie. Peter fled from a plantation in Louisiana after he was whipped within an inch of his life, the haunting photo of his bareback, scarred from the brutal whipping came to be known as "The Scourged Back". Outwitting cold-blooded hunters and braving the swamps of Louisiana he journeys north where he the Union Army.
Additionally, other Smith projects that have been put on a backburner include Netflix's film project Fast and Loose and the much-anticipated Bad Boys 4. In addition to the slapping incident, Netflix also lost the film director, David Leitch, to Universal. Leitch had dropped out of the project. The streamer had sent out an urgent call for other directors to take over the project but has now decided that it would be better to put the project on hold altogether. The future of the Bad Boys 4 film is still unclear.
This Joka, a stand-up comedy series that was executively produced by Smith, will also not be returning for a second season on Roku. But the decision to cut the show apparently had nothing to do with the slapping incident. Roku is said to never have had the option to renew the series which lapsed even before it launched the show is what they are claiming. But the timing of it all is just too hard to miss.