Will Smith took over the Red Table with his children Willow, Jaden and Trey Smith for the latest episode of the family’s Facebook Watch show.
The actor spoke about starring in the powerful new movie, “Emancipation”, which is based on that 1863 “Whipped Peter” photo, that Smith pointed out was arguably the first viral picture.
A synopsis for the film reads: “Peter, a slave, flees a plantation in Louisiana after he was whipped within an inch of his life. He has to outwit cold-blooded hunters and the unforgiving swamps of Louisiana on a torturous journey north.”
While filming the flick, Smith recalled how his co-star, Ben Foster, stayed in character for six months and wouldn’t speak to him.
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The star mentioned how the weather meant the cast couldn’t film on the first day of production, despite everybody showing up to set. Smith made sure to thank them for their efforts, but Foster ignored him.
“In my mind, I was giving my best ‘Will Smith’ and Ben just walked past me and didn’t say nothing,” Smith recalled. “I was like, ‘Oh, he must not have seen me.’ Then for six months he didn’t speak to me. He didn’t make eye contact with me. He didn’t say a word. He didn’t acknowledge me for six months.
“But what he did that first day. I was like, ‘Yup. Got it. We’re not playing. This is real; this is serious. We’re not fooling around with these ideas.’ I really credit Ben for clicking me into the next gear of depth and focus.”
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Foster finally introduced himself to Smith on the last day of filming.
Director Antoine Fuqua confirmed “we got it”, with Smith sharing: “Then I look over at Ben, it’s his last day, he says, ‘Nice to meet you. Ben.’”
Smith called the project “the most rewarding film of my entire career,” insisting his kids inspired him to take on certain roles.
“I am making things to leave ideas for my children,” he said.