Filming on “Emancipation” has been suspended due to a positive COVID test, but four new cast members have been announced to join Will Smith.
Ben Foster, Charmaine Bingwa, Gilbert Owuor, and Mustafa Shakir have joined Will Smith in the freedom-seeking story Emancipation, which Antoine Fuqua is directing for Apple Studios.
The precautionary move comes about two weeks after the shooting of the feature film, which Antoine Fuqua directed from a script by William N. Collage. It is the latest Hollywood production to pause filming in recent weeks due to positive tests as the country grapples with a new wave of Covid fuelled by the highly contagious Delta virus strain.
“Emancipation”, which was originally scheduled to be shot in Georgia, was moved to Louisiana, where the actual events of the film took place, because of a controversial restrictive election law signed by Republican Governor Brian Kemp.
Smith plays Peter, who escapes from slavery and uses his wits, unwavering faith, and deep love for his family to fight for freedom, dodging cold-blooded hunters and the harsh Louisiana swamps. Foster (“Hell or High Water”) plays Fassel, who relentlessly pursues all slaves who seek freedom, including Peter.
Bingwa (“The Good Fight”, “Black Box”, “Trees of Peace”) plays Peter’s wife Dodienne, and Owuor (“Montana Story”, “Mute”, “Reprisal”, “Calls”) plays Gordon, a slave who works in a camp with Peter. Shakir (“Soul Assassin”, “Cowboy Bebop”, “Marvel’s Luke Cage” and “The Deuce”) plays Cailloux, a free black man serving in the Union army.
The film, shot in Louisiana, was inspired by the famous photograph from around 1863 known as “The Whipped Back”. The photo, taken during a medical examination of the Union Army, depicts a runaway slave, dubbed “Peter the Whip”, who became a symbol of the abolitionist movement when he was photographed in Harper’s Weekly with heavy whiplash scars running down his back.
Smith, James Lassiter, and Jon Mone are producing “Emancipation” through Westbrook Studios with McFarland Entertainment’s Joey McFarland and Escape Artists’ Todd Black producing. Antoine Fuqua is producing alongside Cliff Roberts at his company Fuqua Films.
Ben Foster most recently starred in Debra Granik’s “Leave No Trace” and Mélanie Laurent’s “Galveston”. Foster will next be seen in the action-thriller “Violence of Action” and Barry Levinson’s “The Survivor”.
Will Smith also has a colorful film palette. He will next be seen in “King Richard” and his most recent films include “Bad Boys For Life” and “Gemini Man”. Several scenes in “Gemini Man” were shot in Hungary.