Will Smith is gearing up for his next feature film, Emancipation for AppleTV+. He portrays Peter, an enslaved man known as “Whipped Peter,” whose photograph has gone down in history for showing slavery’s horrors.
Nonetheless, he evaded incarceration, traveling across Louisiana before joining the Union troops.
Emancipation follows Smith’s character through all of the violence, providing a frightening glimpse into life on southern plantations.
Smith recently spoke with Vanity Fair about the upcoming film and how tough it was for him to film.
Smith, on the other hand, is grateful for the part, describing Peter as an inspiration after learning more about his ordeal.
“Getting into the character of Peter was grueling; physically, emotionally and mentally in every way. Not just for me, but for every single person working on the film. We had therapists and spiritual teachers on set. We had a pastor. The daily reminder of the merciless treatment of a race of people was punishing to our spirits. And yet, I don’t think I would want to ‘shake off’ Peter. The concept that Peter illuminated for me is that heaven and hell are states of consciousness. For me to have the opportunity to walk in Peter’s trial, and try to understand and dissect what is going on in the heart and mind of a man who has endured what he has endured—and survived—is a gift. It is a source of new inspiration and has helped me to cultivate a higher capacity for empathy.”