Will Smith Returns to Red Carpet for ‘Emancipation’ Premiere: “Poetic Perfection” to Have a Movie Like This
Will Smith‘s Emancipation press tour rolled through Los Angeles on Wednesday as the Oscar-winning actor turned up to support the Apple Original Films’ release in a showing that marked Smith’s first major red carpet appearance since March’s controversial Oscar telecast.
Smith walked the Westwood Regency Village Theatre’s carpet just after 7 p.m. with his wife Jada pinkett Smith and their children Trey, Jaden, and Willow. As he walked on the carpet, he was greeted with cheers by the crowd of photographers. He then responded with a hearty “What’s The Deal?” Smith spent the next part of the day taking photos with top Apple executives Jamie Erlicht and Eddy Cue before moving on to the next step, giving his time generously to each outlet.
Although filmmaker Antoine Fuqua was not present — he is currently filming Equalizer with Denzel Washington — Smith was joined by his team of collaborators including Ben Foster and Charmaine Bingwa. Tiffany Haddish and Matt Barnes were among the other guests who showed support.
Based on a true story Emancipation follows Peter (Smith), who runs from his plantation to search for his family. He outwits cold-blooded hunter and survives the Louisiana swamps. Peter eventually joins Union Army. During a medical exam, Peter’s bare back was photographed. It had been subject to a near fatal whipping by his former plantation overseer. The Independent published the photo, proving the cruelty of slavery in America.
“When I made this film, I imagined the potential service it might be to modern social conversations. As he worked his way down the line, Smith said The Hollywood Reporter that he thought it would serve as a reminder of the road we have taken as a country in order to avoid any similar roads. “To have a movie such as this in this time for myself, and even in this time in my own life, is poetic perfection.”
Though he has long talked about his desire to avoid films about slavery, Smith said he thinks of Emancipation as a film about freedom. He told a group press that he realized that the movie was not about slavery. “This movie was about emancipation. I had seen the movie, but I was drawn to Peter’s experiences and his ability to keep faith despite the worst human atrocities ….. This is what attracted me towards Peter. I wanted to learn and be able to do that myself.
Smith was joined by Foster and co-stars Bingwa on the red carpet to introduce the film. The actor celebrated their “spectacular” work in Emancipation and said they both “changed me as an actor and elevated me as a human in the time that we spent together.”
“This was a very difficult project to make. It was supposed that it would take three months. But, thanks to some miracles, it took seven. Smith stated that Apple’s team never faltered, not once. Smith continued, “I’ve worked all over town, but you guys are the best, I have to admit.” There were many times when this thing could have been pulled. But, because of your dedication to telling this story to your audience, and to the rest of the world, , I salute you .
Director Fuqua joined the audience via video conference to share his thoughts.
“I had to make this movie. It would have taken everything we had and more to make this film. He said that the film had a spiritual and moving quality. It was about love, faith, freedom, and it just had to be done. “There was no way that we were going to finish this movie. Although the film was difficult to make, I believe it was well worth it. No one ever abandoned ship. They could have many times. Through hurricanes, tornadoes, COVID, heat and alligators It’s been an amazing journey and I want to thank everyone who went along with me .”
The film will be released in select theaters on Dec. 2, and then worldwide streaming debut on Dec. 9. The fate of the film was uncertain after March’s Oscar telecast. Smith stormed the stage, slapped Chris Rock, and then pushed for the release.
Even though tonight’s event was the world premiere, there were a few smaller screenings that took place in the weeks before the global rollout. One of these screenings has been closely followed due to Oscar dust-up. The first screening was held in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 1, in partnership with the NAACP during the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 51st annual Legislative Conference. Weeks later, Smith joined an exclusive roster of guests in L.A. where Rihanna, ASAP Rocky, Tyler Perry, Kenya Barris, music producer Corey Smyth, celebrity stylists Fawn Boardley and writer-producer Esa Lewis, among others, watched the film.
One notable guest in the room that night was Dave Chappelle, who had joined Rock for a series of sold-out stand-up shows. Smith described it as an “EPIC night !”
” in an Instagram post.
Perry was present at another screening earlier this month. This screening was held in Atlanta and featured “our next generation” of filmmakers, according to Smith. It included students from Clark Atlanta University, Spellman College, and Morehouse College.
On the press front, Smith’s Emancipation tour revved up this week, first with an interview with Fox D.C. affiliate Good Day and interviewer Kevin McCarthy. For his longest interview since the Oscars, Smith sat next to Trevor Noah on The Daily Show for his most detailed interview. Looking back on the March 27 show, Smith called it a “horrific night,” despite his best actor win for King Richard.
“I had to forgive myself for being human,” said Smith, who also taped an appearance opposite Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson on their series All the Smoke for Showtime Basketball YouTube channel. Trust me, nobody hates the fact I’m human more that me. It’s just finding the space within myself to be human. It’s almost like I want to be Superman. I’ve always wanted the ability to save the damsel in need. I had to accept that I was a flawed human being, and that I still have the chance to contribute to the world in a way that fulfills my heart and helps others.
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