‘Emancipation’ trailer sees Will Smith taking on the harrowing story behind ‘The Scourged Back’

Apple TV has released the first, powerful trailer for its upcoming drama film, Emancipation, inspired by true events and with Will Smith in the leading role. 

Directed by Antoine Fuqua and produced by Smith, Emancipation follows the turbulent, but triumphant, journey of a man escaping from slavery, ruthlessly taking on the dangerous swamps of Louisiana in hopes for freedom. While Peter (Smith) evades his enslavers and the hunters after him, Emancipation is a painful look into the ever-pressing realities of the slave trade and a man’s quest to find his family.

The film is inspired by the true events of “Whipped Peter” in 1863, in which photos — one dubbed “The Scourged Back,” of Peter’s bare back, mutilated by whipping from his enslavers — received widespread attention after being published in Harper’s Weekly. These photos incited public outrage and opposition towards slavery. Emancipation is set to tell Peter’s story, with its cast also including Ben Foster, Charmaine Bingwa, Gilbert Owuor, and Mustafa Shakir. 


Emancipation premieres in theaters on Dec. 2, with a global release on Apple TV+ on Dec. 9. 

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