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Apple nabs Will Smith-starrer 'Emancipation'
Apple has bagged Will Smith-starrer "Emancipation" after a heated bidding war. The slavery thriller will be directed by "Equalizer" helmer Antoine Fuqua from a script by William N Collage.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, major studios were vying for the project at the Cannes Virtual Market. Warner Bros and Apple were the final two bidders, with Apple taking the project for a massive price tag. The period film is based on the true story of Peter, a slave on a Louisiana plantation, owned by John and Bridget Lyons. During his time at the plantation he received a brutal whipping by one of the overseers that almost killed him.
Peter managed to run away to the north and join the Union Army. When Peter showed Army doctors his back during a medical examination, they took photos of his scars, and one photo known as "the scourged back" was published by The Independent in May 1863, and later by Harper Weekly in its July 4 issue. The photo got circulated around the world and was held up as proof of the cruelty of slavery in America. It also prompted many free blacks to join the Union Army in order to fight racists in the south.
Smith will also produce the project with his Westbrook Studios partners James Lassiter and Jon Mone. Joey McFarland of McFarland Entertainment and Todd Black of Escape Artists are also attached as producers.