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“They never, never break me”: Will Smith fights for freedom in the trailer to Apple TV+’s ‘Emancipation’

On Wednesday, Apple TV+ released the full trailer to Emancipation, the Antoine Fuqua-directed slave drama starring Will Smith.

The Oscar-winning King Richard actor plays Peter, an enslaved man who learns Lincoln has freed them, only to remain in chains in the Deep South. Ben Foster‘s slaver Fassel tells his captives, “You walk the earth because I let you. I’m your god now.”

Peter launches a plan to escape and undertakes a perilous journey through the deadly swamps, bound for Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and the Union Army’s front lines — with his captors on his heels.

Eventually, he takes up arms and returns to rescue the family he left behind.

Peter’s story was inspired by the 1863 photos of “Whipped Peter,” which first appeared in Harper’s Weekly after being taken during a Union Army medical examination. The graphic image of the man’s heavily scarred back contributed to the growing public opposition to slavery. The historic moment when the photo was snapped is recreated in the film and shown in the trailer.

Smith’s character says, “They whip me. They break the bones in my body more times than I can count,” before adding defiantly, “But they never, never break me.”

Emancipation debuts in U.S. theaters on Dec. 2 and hits Apple TV+ a week later on Dec. 9.

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