Will Smith Explains Why He Passed On Django Unchained

Will Smith

Will Smith is set to appear in the Upcoming Apple TV+ film Emancipation. This Antoine Fuqua directed action-thriller is based on the true story of escaped slave Gordon who’s had an image of his whipping scars published around the globe in 1863, proving the cruelty of American Slavery and fueling the Abolitionist movement’s goal to end slavery.

Slavery is a subject matter that is sensitive and confronting for a lot of people, and star Will Smith spoke on this during an interview with GQ where he explained why he had previously passed up on opportunities to star in films tackling the subject.

“I’ve always avoided making films about slavery,” Smith told GQ. “In the early part of my career… I didn’t want to show Black people in that light. I wanted to be a superhero. So I wanted to depict Black excellence alongside my white counterparts. I wanted to play roles that you would give to Tom Cruise. And the first time I considered it was Django. But I didn’t want to make a slavery film about vengeance.”

Django Unchained, the 2012 Quentin Tarantino film ultimately chose Jamie Foxx to play the lead role as Django, a slave who after being freed sets out to rescue his wife and take vengeance on those who enslaved them. The film scored excellent reviews from critics and fans alike.

Continuing in his interview with GQ, Smith explains that thinking of Emancipation as a “slavery movie” would be a disservice to the film which he called a “David Lean-style epic, with the flavor of an action flick.”

“This was one that was about love and the power of Black love,” Smith said. “And that was something that I could rock with. We were going to make a story about how Black love makes us invincible.”

Right now, there is no date for the release of Emancipation, which begun filming in early 2021 after COVID delays, but it will receive both a release on Apple TV+ and in cinemas.