Emancipation, the latest movie to star Will Smith, serves as another period piece to the Oscar-winning actor’s extensive body of work. However, the Antoine Fuqua-directed drama also marks a different kind of production for the A-lister. In this latest work, Smith takes on the role of a slave who, in the 1860s, embarks on a journey to obtain freedom. Smith has been candid about how he avoided slavery movies early in his career, so one may wonder why he chose to sign on for this one. Well, the star provided a candid answer when asked why he wanted to make the film. 

The 54-year-old star recently explained that he opted against slave movies because he “didn’t want to show Black people in that light.” He preferred to “be a superhero.” Yet it would seem that Emancipation, on which the actor also serves as a producer, presented him with a different kind of opportunity. During a recent interview, he explained that through his character, Peter, he was able to move away from the characterizations that typically accompany these kinds of motion pictures: 

We don’t know about the strength and the endurance, you know? Very rarely as a Black man when you watch a movie in this period can you feel good about it. Peter makes you feel good about it. … It’s such a beautiful human story, right? I don’t make movies about periods. I make movies about people. This is a man that touched my heart, you know? It was what he sacrificed for us to be able to sit here.

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