Apple Pays Big to Land Action Film ‘Emancipation’ Starring Will Smith

According to a report by the Hollywood Reporter, Apple has landed action film ‘Emancipation’ starring Will Smith for a massive price tag. While many major studios were vying for the package being sold out of the Cannes virtual market, Apple eventually took the project after a heated bidding war with Warner Bros.

Will smith emancipation

Based on a true story, the movie is set to be directed by Antoine Fuqua and follows a runaway slave named Peter, who is forced to outwit cold-blooded hunters and the unforgiving swamps of Louisiana on his journey North. Once there, he joined the Union Army.

When Peter showed his bareback during an Army medical examination, photos were taken of the scars from a near-fatal whipping delivered by an overseer on the plantation owned by John and Bridget Lyons.

The photo, known as “the scourged back,” was published by the Independent in May of 1863 and then in Harper’s Weekly‘s July 4 issue and became indisputable proof of the cruelty and barbarity of slavery in America. It solidified the cause of abolitionists and prompted many free blacks to join the Union Army.

William N. Collage wrote the feature, which was researched and developed by Joey McFarland. Smith will produce, with James Lassiter and Jon Mone serving in some producing capacity through Westbrook Studios.

Antoine Fuqua will also executive produce the movie under his Fuqua Films banner alongside Cliff Roberts.