Will Smith has a couple of different movies in the works. Like many productions these days, they’ve faced several delays. One important project, in particular, has faced several problems already and is now facing another major delay for a very serious reason. Emancipation has been filming in Louisiana. On the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, a Category 3 storm that devastated New Orleans, Hurricane Ida is landing in the area. Currently, the hurricane is a Category 4, but as it’s approaching land, it’s just below a Category 5, a truly rare and terrible event.
Over the past few days, locals and visitors alike have been evacuating the area. As the storm is just approaching land as of this writing, it will be a few days before it’s known how people in the area will fare, but precautions are being taken, including by productions in the area. The Will Smith film, Emancipation, is an Apple Original Film.
According to Deadline, a letter was sent out by the studio to the production team. They secured a block of hotel rooms in Atlanta and requested that both locals and people traveling to the set use the hotel rooms if they felt comfortable doing so. They provided buses as a way for the production team to travel from the set in Louisana to Atlanta, or said that the team could travel in their own vehicles, and requested that everyone keep the studio informed of their whereabouts and plans as the situation progressed.
For the Will Smith movie, this is far from the first delay the set has seen. A month ago, Emancipation had to briefly shut down after a positive COVID test on set. Long before that, the production saw a huge spike in their budgetary needs and some delays in production when they moved states. Emancipation was originally to be filmed in Georgia, as many films are. They decided to move production from Georgia to Louisana after the original state enacted voter ID laws that the Will Smith production didn’t want to be associated with.
Emancipation is a major historical film for Will Smith. The story actually takes place in Louisiana, which makes it a fitting filming location despite the delays of moving the production. The movie will tell the story of Peter. After a long and terrible journey wherein he escaped slavery on a plantation, a photo was taken of his back in 1863. The photo came to be called The Scourged Back and became a world-famous photograph. At the time, the world had a lot of conflicting information on what slavery was and what it entailed. The photograph of Peter’s scars was more difficult for the world to ignore. It made it more difficult for plantations that kept slaves to justify what they were doing when the world had this photo, especially in 1863, when important conversations were moving forward.
Now, Peter’s journey will be told in Emancipation, starring Will Smith. At this time, there is no scheduled release date. With all the delays, they’ll be likely to wait until filming is complete. Hopefully, for reasons that go far beyond this movie, Hurricane Ida resolves quickly and the area becomes safe again soon.