Will Smith: Production Of ‘Emancipation’ Film, Directed By Antoine Fuqua, On Pause After Crew Members Test Positive For COVID-19
Emancipation, starring Will Smith, is on a brief hiatus due to COVID-19.
As previously reported, Will Smith is slated to star as an escaped slave in the upcoming Emancipation film, directed by Antoine Fuqua. However, Deadline reports that the film is on pause as a result of various crew members testing positive for COVID-19. The outlet reports that, out of hundreds of tests, only a small number came back positive. Regardless, the film’s production has been placed on a brief hiatus that began yesterday (Monday, August 2nd). The pause will allegedly only be for about five days.
This is not the first change of plans that has occurred during the filming of Emancipation. As previously reported, the film–which was originally being shot in Georgia–was moved to Louisiana a few months ago. This change in location was done in response to Georgia’s controversial voter restriction laws signed by the state’s governor, Brian Kemp. Will Smith and Antoine Fuqua issued a joint statement on the decision, claiming:
“At this moment in time, the Nation is coming to terms with its history and is attempting to eliminate vestiges of institutional racism to achieve true racial justice. We cannot in good conscience provide economic support to a government that enacts regressive voting laws that are designed to restrict voter access. The new Georgia voting laws are reminiscent of voting impediments that were passed at the end of Reconstruction to prevent many Americans from voting. Regrettably, we feel compelled to move our film production work from Georgia to another state.”
However, it is worth noting that the film’s move to Louisiana actually makes the film’s production more historically accurate. Emancipation focuses on the real-life story of an enslaved man named Peter, who is being played by Will Smith. Peter escaped from a plantation in Louisiana after he was almost killed by a whipping. The aftermath of the incident was famously captured in a graphic photograph titled “The Scourged Back,” which was taken back in 1863. The shocking image portrays the man’s highly-scarred back and displayed the horrors of slavery to a wider audience.
It is currently unclear when Emancipation will be released in theatres.
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