Emancipation (Will Smith Movie)


Sergeant Major
Aug 5, 2011
First I've heard of this, figured to start a thread now.

In the movie, Will Smith would play a real-life historical figure named Peter, a runaway slave who needed to work his way out of the South and to the North where he eventually joined the Union army and continued to fight for the freedom of his people. Deadline notes that Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) is down to direct Emancipation, and has the bidding war occurring between Warner Bros. and Apple.

The thriller is based on a true story, fueled by an indelible image; when Peter showed his bare back during an Army medical examination, photos were taken of the scars from a whipping delivered by an overseer on the plantation owned by John and Bridget Lyons that nearly killed him. When the photo known as “the scourged back” was published by the Independent in May, 1863 and then in Harper’s Weekly‘s July 4 issue, it became indisputable proof of the cruelty and barbarity of slavery in America. The photo reached around the world, and legend has it that it made countries like France refuse to buy cotton from the South. It solidified the cause of abolitionists and prompted many free blacks to join the Union Army.

By the time he made it to a Union encampment in Baton Rouge in March 1863, Peter had been through hell. Bloodhounds had chased him. He had been pursued for miles, had run barefoot through creeks and across fields. He had survived, if barely. When he reached the soldiers, Peter’s clothing was ragged and soaked with mud and sweat.

But his ten-day ordeal was nothing compared to what he had already been through. During Peter's enslavement on John and Bridget Lyons’ Louisiana plantation, Peter endured not just the indignity of slavery, but a brutal whipping that nearly took his life. And when he joined the Union Army after his escape from slavery, Peter exposed his scars during a medical examination.



Aug 4, 2011
Are they going to have vampires?

I couldn't resist, sorry. I am a big fan of Will Smith and he would be an excellent choice.

No need to apologize; it is the sort of thing that could be overdone. Or it could be really good. Smith's a good actor, and it's often interesting to see actors in roles unlike what they usually play.

Like most of us, I've seen the photo, but for some reason I always assumed it was prewar.


2nd Lieutenant
Forum Host
Apr 18, 2019
It's always good to see a film about the African American experience that has an African American main character - so often it seems we gets films about helpful Caucasians and the slaves are side players in their own story.