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Will Smith personally paid extras on the set of his new film Emancipation – Director

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The actor stars as a man who escapes slavery in the new film, his first project since he slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars (which he has since apologized for).

Director Antoine Fuqua has heaped praise on the actor, recalling how he would give money to extras on set who had been hired to lie down in extreme heat.

‘He was kind to everyone on the set. Will would go around and hug and shake hands – we had 300-something extras and military. Marines,’ Antoine said.

‘He’s funny. He’s fun. We had certain extras that were the dead bodies in the graves, and he would go give them money for laying there in that heat over 100 degrees.’

The filmmaker added to Vanity Fair: ‘I have nothing but amazing things to say about Will Smith, really genuinely. You can ask anybody that worked on the movie, they’ll tell you the same. Nicest person I’ve ever met in my life.’

The upcoming Apple TV+ flick follows the journey of an enslaved man who escapes from a Louisiana plantation and joins the Union Army during the Civil War.

It is set to premiere in cinemas on December 2, before landing on the streaming service on December 9.

In an emotional teaser, Will – who stars as Peter – could be seen being wheeled away in a cage as he is told: ’You walk the earth because I let you. I’m your God now.’

‘Give thanks to God,’ he tells his family. ‘The Lord is with us. What can a mere man do to me?’

Emancipation stars Ben Foster, Charmaine Bingwa and Jabbar Lewis alongside Will.

The actor, who kept a low profile following the slap drama, appeared at a screening and Q&A last month, where he opened up about his decision to take on such an emotional role.

Emancipation is Will’s first project to be released since the controversy at this year’s Oscars ceremony – when he stormed on stage to confront Chris Rock over a joke regarding wife Jada Pinkett Smith.

After slapping the comedian, he walked back to his seat and warned the Everybody Hates Chris actor to keep her name out of his mouth.

In the wake of the incident, he announced his resignation from the Academy, and bosses confirmed that he would be serving a 10-year ban from all Oscars-related events.

He later apologised to Chris in a statement and in a lengthy video.

Emancipation will be released in cinemas on December 2, and Apple TV on December 9.


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