While Will Smith is finally speaking out for the first time about the Oscars debacle, his money is also talking. Variety and other outlets have reported that Smith will be paid $35 million for his role in the Apple TV+ thriller “Emancipation.”
Directed by Antoine Fuqua, “Emancipation” stars Smith as an enslaved person who tries to escape his plantation owners. When news broke about the large payout, many fans applauded the Oscar winner.
“As he should.”
“Not y’all thinking Will wasn’t gonna continue getting to the bag.”
“Can’t keep a talented black man down!”
“No surprise here. OSCAR WINNER WILL SMITH. Put some respect on his name.”
“Good, everybody makes mistakes. He’s surely entitled to his,” said one person, while another wrote, “He gon’ make a bag regardless of who it’s from. He can’t be canceled!”
It’s unclear if the payout agreement for “Emancipation” was before or after the Oscars controversy. But Smith’s new role may come as a shock to many as he originally has spoken out against acting in slave movies. In a 2021 cover story GQ’s November issue, the veteran actor admitted he’s “always avoided making films about slavery.”
He continued, “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.”
The 53-year-old explained that he wanted to play roles suitable for actors like Tom Cruise, adding, “And the first time I considered it was ‘Django.’ But I didn’t want to make a slavery film about vengeance.”
Smith previously opened up about turning down the role that went to Jamie Foxx in Quentin Tarantino’s film, “Django Unchained.” But according to him, “Emancipation” is more than a slave movie. The Antoine Fuqua-directed project is based on the harrowing true story of a runaway slave named Peter, who escapes to freedom and joins the Union Army. Zimbabwean-American actor Charmaine Bingwa also joins the cast as Peter’s wife, Dodienne.
“This was one that was about love and the power of Black love,” Smith told the outlet about the film. “And that was something that I could rock with. We were going to make a story about how Black love makes us invincible.”