Will Smith to Star in Antoine Fuqua-Directed Runaway Slave Thriller 'Emancipation'

Will Smith will team up with Antoine Fuqua for 'Emancipation,' a film about a runaway slave who must navigate the Louisiana swamp in pursuit of freedom.

Will Smith attends the "Concussion" New York premiere.

Image via Getty/Jim Spellman

Will Smith attends the "Concussion" New York premiere.

Variety has learned that Will Smith has been tapped to star in the film Emancipation, which will be directed by Antoine Fuqua. The script will be penned by Bill Collage, who helped write the screenplay for Assassin's Creed and Allegiant.

Emancipation is based on the true story of Peter, a runaway slave who embarks on a tortuous journey to the Union Army. In pursuit of his only chance at freedom, he must endure the punishing Louisiana swamp and outwit cold-blooded hunters. Production is expected to begin early next year. 

However, that timetable ultimately depends on when Smith and Fuqua can complete their current projects that were suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Smith was filming the biopic King Richard, where he portrays Richard Williams, father and coach of tennis legends, Venus and Serena. Meanwhile, Fuqua was involved in post-production for Infinite, a film starring Mark Wahlberg as a man who realizes that his visions are actually memories from his past. 

Last year, Smith signed on to star in the Netflix film The Council, where he will portray legendary New York City crime boss Nicky Barnes. The feature finds Smith reuniting with Peter Landesman, who wrote the script for Concussion

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