Will Smith has been under a lot of public scrutiny over the course of the last year, especially after the private details of his marriage with Jada Pinkett Smith went viral. Having been subjected to relentless harassment on the internet, Smith was in a very difficult place and his mental health was in shambles.
He is finally trying to move on from that ugliness by focusing on new projects like Emancipation, a brand new action-thriller starring Smith as a former slave who escapes from the oppressive environment of the plantation to join the Union Army. Based on a true story, Emancipation is expected to come out sometime in 2022.
“I’ve always avoided making films about slavery,” Smith said. “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.”
In the same interview, the actor noted that he is refocusing his career and his new primary objective is to “strictly to tell stories that help people figure out how to be happy here.” He continued: “The idea is I spent the first half of my life gathering, gathering, gathering, and now the second half of my life is going to be giving it all away.”
“The entire world was in lockdown, watched what happened to George Floyd, and stood up with one voice and said, We see it. We agree,” Smith added. “That’s never happened before and with that the opportunities are unlike they’ve ever been. I’ve been trying to get movies made for a long time. And the amount of money that Apple is paying to tell the story [of Emancipation] is unprecedented. And those opportunities are globally present and plentiful.”
Apart from Emancipation, Smith also worked on a YouTube Original feature that chronicles his health transformation, both mental and physical. “When I started this show, I thought I was getting into the best shape of my life, physically,” he said. “But, mentally, I was somewhere else. I ended up discovering a whole lot of hidden things about myself… That was the only time in my life that I ever considered suicide.”
Check out the trailer for the new health docuseries by Will Smith called Will Smith: The Best Shape Of My Life which will be released on November 8 via YouTube.