It is becoming more and more apparent that in 2021, the stars are probably not aligned in Will Smith’s favor. Recently, a majorly delayed film that the Suicide Squad actor was producing was sent packing due to financial issues and now, another film starring Smith has been forced to shut down its ongoing production.
Deadline has reported the Will Smith starrer Emancipation, the Apple Studios’ thriller that recently began shooting in New Orleans, Louisiana, has suspended its filming for five days after it was discovered that a few people in the film’s crew were Covid positive. The film, directed by Antoine Fuqua and based on William N. Collages’s script, will be hopefully back on track after the brief hiatus. This is not the first delay the ambitious project has faced as initially the filming was supposed to take place in Georgia in June. But then the costly decision of switching the location to Louisiana was made due to the recently enacted restrictive voting laws in Georgia, which delayed the date of the Will Smith production.
Emancipation is inspired by the haunting photograph, known as The Scourged Back, wherein a Union Army Soldier, Peter, is seen showing his badly scarred backside during an Army medical examination. The film is based on the true story of Peter, once a slave who was almost whipped to death on a plantation in Louisiana. He managed to flee those who hunted him and went through an arduous journey to the North where he joined the Union Army. Will Smith will be seen playing the lead character of Peter in the film.
While Emancipation is set to resume filming in a few days, the same can’t be said for another Will Smith project. The Hollywood Reporter had recently disclosed that the cinematic adaptation of The Alchemist, based on the novel of the same name by Paulo Coelho, has met with a major roadblock. The film, which has already been delayed for more than two decades, was predicted to have a smooth run after it was announced that Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith’s Westbrook Studios are collaborating with Netter Films to produce it. The film was supposed to begin shooting in September 2021 in Morocco while being financed by PalmStar Media, which holds the screen rights to the book.
But reportedly, the project, which was in pre-production, hit “undisclosed obstacles.” Owing to this unexpected hindrance, the project has been suspended while the crew and some of the cast (who had been on location) have been sent back. But a production spokesperson has shared with The Hollywood Reporter that the real issue is that the film is facing a rights-transfer problem and production will resume in a few weeks. While this may or may not be true, fortunately, at least other projects of Will Smith are still on track.
Recently, the official trailer of the upcoming biopic, King Richard, starring Will Smith as the father of Serena and Venus Williams, was released and is scheduled to debut across theaters as well as HBO Max on November 19, 2021. Another Smith starrer, the upcoming action thriller Fast & Loose, has finally found its home after Netflix acquired the worldwide rights to the film. The project is set to be produced by 87North, STXfilms, and Will Smith’s Westbrook Studios.