Will Smith has gone down in the history books as one of the best actors in the world. He’s even just as versatile of an actor as he is a noteworthy one. Furthermore, Smith has starred in several films ranging from comedy to action and dramas. This year, he finally took home his first Oscar this year for “Best Actor” in King Richard.
Despite all his critical acclaim, his Oscar win went down the drain after publicly humiliating Chris Rock at the 2022 Academy Awards. Furthermore, the beloved actor received tons of backlash for his behavior at the awards show. It even resulted in Smith being banned from the Oscars for an entire decade. Things have turned bad for the actor.
Although, he’s seemingly making a comeback with his upcoming Apple TV+ film Emancipation. The trailer for the 2023 period piece dropped this week and fans have speculated at a possible Oscar nomination. However, the context of the film based around slavery, has others asking: is the film a good move for Will Smith?
He Originally Didn’t Want To Do A Slavery Film
Will Smith may have encountered a setback, but he hasn’t let the moment stop his momentum. In fact, many have speculated that his starring role in Emancipation might just win him another Oscars. He might be unable to attend the Academy Awards in-person, but they can at least mail him the award.
Furthermore, Emancipation first screened at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 51st Annual Legislative Conference in Washington D.C on October 1. Moreover, both the film’s director Antoine Fuqua and Will Smith attended the screening. Moreover, the 19th Century film tells the story of a runaway slave named Peter, who makes the treacherous journey to the North. Once there, he’ll serve as a Union Army solider in the coming Civil War.
In talks about the upcoming film, Smith admitted that he didn’t want to star in a slavery movie at first. At Emancipation’s first screening, the actor shared that he’s turned down several films like it throughout his career, including Django Unchained. “I never wanted to show us like that,” the star admitted. Clearly, the star had reservations about taking on a starring role in a slavery film.
Though, after reading the script, Smith realized that was something different about the film. “This isn’t a film about slavery, it’s about resilience, freedom and faith.” The actor had some doubts about starring in the period piece. However, his ultimate response doesn’t address why he decided to say ‘yes’ this time to another slavery film.
Why We Don’t Need Another Slavery Piece
Unfortunately, we may never know the true reason behind Will Smith’s decision to take on the movie role. Though, many fans speculate that the actor has grown desperate in securing his status in Hollywood. Arguably, Smith still has many fans that support him no matter the mistakes he’s made. That being said, he shouldn’t feel the need to downplay his talents or put aside his beliefs just to win back the public.
Furthermore, several period, slavery pieces have already been released in the last several years. Everything ranging from 12 Years A Slave, the 2016 miniseries Roots, Django Unchained, the 2016 tv series Underground and Harriet has all come to life on screen. While there’s a huge historical relevance in these films, there’s also years of pain and torment behind it felt by the black community. Of course, we need to address the harsh reality of slavery but how many times must we be subjected to same agony? Afterall, what is the true intention behind these films; are they meant to educate us about our history or continue to brainwash us?
Will Smith’s Emancipation also comes into question; is it the right move for the actor. While he’s received tons of support for his role in the upcoming movie from fans, others have stated there’s no need for another slavery film. Clearly, there’s a call for change that should be addressed. We need more positive portrayals of Black Culture and history. Arguably, Will Smith can do better.