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Will Smith personally paid extras playing dead bodies in 100 degree heat in his new movie

Will Smith personally paid extras playing dead bodies in 100 degree heat in his new movie

Emancipation director Antoine Fuqua says Will Smith was incredible on the set of their new Apple TV+ movie

Will Smith personally paid extras in his new film that were playing dead bodies lying on the ground in extreme heat, the film’s director has said.

Smith, who plays a slave called ‘Whipped Pete’ in the film Emancipation, was singled out for special praise by his director Antoine Fuqua because of his behaviour on set and demeanour around extras.

The 54-year-old actor who – lest we forget – slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars this year, plays an escaped slave who eventually joins up with Union Army in order to fight in the US Civil War. Here's the trailer for the new flick:

It’s based upon a true story and will be released on 2 December in cinemas, before coming to Apple TV+ on 9 December.

Anyway, it’s Will’s behaviour on set that we’re here to talk about, and Fuqua made a point of saying how he went around and introduced himself to everyone on set.

“He was kind to everyone on the set," he told Vanity Fair.

"Will would go around and hug and shake hands - we had 300-something extras and military. Marines.

“We had to stop Will from doing that because of COVID.”

Will Smith plays an escaped slave in Emancipation.
Apple Studios

“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.”

Obviously, Fuqua didn’t pass much comment on the incident at the Academy Awards earlier this year, only going as far as to pass comment on his own experience with Smith.

He continued: “I saw a different person than that one moment in time, and so my reaction was that particular moment is very foreign to me when it comes to Will Smith.

“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.”

Wow, a ringing endorsement if ever there was one.

He added: “It’s really hard to release a character who’s been brutalized and called the N-word every day — constantly, every day — and still be the nicest person in the world.”

Smith himself went on to say that the film in general – because of the themes involved – was hard to make.

The film is generating quite a buzz.
Apple Studios

Describing the ‘gruelling’ process, the Men In Black star said: “Not just for me, but for every single person working on the film,

“We had therapists and spiritual teachers on set. We had a pastor. The daily reminder of the merciless treatment of a race of people was punishing to our spirits.

“And yet, I don’t think I would want to ‘shake off’ Peter.

“The concept that Peter illuminated for me is that heaven and hell are states of consciousness.

“For me to have the opportunity to walk in Peter’s trial, and try to understand and dissect what is going on in the heart and mind of a man who has endured what he has endured — and survived — is a gift.

“It is a source of new inspiration and has helped me to cultivate a higher capacity for empathy.”

Whilst Smith is now banned from attending the Oscars for 10 years, there is already a chat that Emancipation could be amongst the players when the gongs get handed out.

Featured Image Credit: Apple TV+/UPI/Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: US News, Film and TV, Will Smith, Celebrity