Will Smith is set to star in an action-thriller center on Whipped Peter, who is “forced to outwit cold-blooded hunters and the unforgiving swamps of Louisiana on a tortuous journey North.”

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The film is directed by Antoine Fuqua meanwhile Willam N. Collage wrote it.

Whipped Peter, born Peter Gordon, was the subject of the iconic 1863 photo that truly showed the harsh brutality of slavery.


“It was the first viral image of the brutality of slavery that the world saw,” Fuqua told Deadline. “Which is interesting, when you put it into perspective with today and social media and what the world is seeing, again. You can’t fix the past, but you can remind people of the past and I think we have to, in an accurate, real way. We all have to look for a brighter future for us all, for everyone. That’s one of the most important reasons to do things right now, is show our history. We have to face our truth before we can move forward.”

Many people are probably thinking ‘another slave movie?’ But Will Smith previously turned down the role to star in the 2015 Django Unchained, which ultimately starred Jamie Foxx.

Smith said at the time, “I wanted to make that movie so badly, but I felt the only way was, it had to be a love story, not a vengeance story.”

Emancipation’s storyline must’ve aligned with Smith’s vision, and apparently he had a lengthy conversation with Fuqua about it. ““It’s more in that wheelhouse than 12 Years a Slave, because he’s a man of action. He takes his destiny in his own hands and he does something about it. For me, there has always been this thing about most films I’ve seen about slaves. It always involves being saved by someone else, as opposed to…how I feel about it, is he would do everything possible to escape, to be free and then to get back to his family. I haven’t seen this film, this character, before. Will Smith is perfect for it,” Fuqua said in regards to Will Smith’s involvement.

He added, “When I sat down with Will, we both talked about taking our skill sets to another level for this one, and giving ourselves completely to it in an honest and fair, true way. An actor’s portrayal as close as the film could get to this world. For me, it’s probably going to be one of the most important films I will make in my life.”