Apple has acquired the rights to Emancipation and production is expected to launch in early 2021.
The stakes are high for Antoine Fuqua’s runaway slave thriller, Emancipation, starring Will Smith.
According to Deadline, Apple and Warner Bros. are in a bidding war over the film with numbers being thrown around in the range of $130 million.
Emancipation is a William N. Collage-scripted action thriller about the harrowing escape of Peter, a runaway slave forced to outwit cold-blooded hunters and the unforgiving swamps of Louisiana on a tortuous journey North where he joined the Union Army.
While the filmmakers have been working on this one for two years, there is an eerie parallel to the footage of George Floyd that sparked protests across the country and reforms that have spread beyond policing and reaching even the corridors of Hollywood. The story of Peter was also fueled by an indelible image, after he showed his bare back during an Army medical examination. The photos taken of the scars from a whipping delivered by an overseer on the plantation got published and seen around the world in 1863.
The picture gave the abolitionist cause indisputable proof of the cruelty of slavery in America, and when the photo reached around the world, legend has it that it made countries like France refuse to buy cotton from the South. The photo, commonly called The Scourged Back, solidified the cause of abolitionists and the rest of the world against slavery and prompted many free blacks to join the Union Army.
While I could live the rest of my life without another slave film, but this project has me extremely intrigued.
I will keep you posted on this project as it progresses.