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Antoine Fuqua’s ‘Emancipation’ Starring Will Smith Halt Production Due to Positive Tests

Will Smith Emancipation Production
Paramount Pictures

Yet another Hollywood production has been halted due to COVID concerns. This time, it’s Apple Studios’ runaway-slave thriller, “Emancipation.”

The film stars Will Smith and is being helmed by Antoine Fuqua. It was written by William N. Collage. The suspension of filming comes shortly after a small number of the massive crew’s COVID tests came back positive.

The pause is only supposed to last five days, but came as sudden news to the cast and crew Sunday, who are currently filming in Louisiana. The film was only two weeks into shooting.

This, of course, is not the first production to pause, as the Delta variant sweeps across the nation. However, this specific pause in production has been reportedly done out of an “abundance of caution.”

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The film follows Will Smith’s character, Gordon, a runaway-slave who escapes a Southern plantation after being nearly whipped to death. He then goes on to flee North and join the Union Army. The film is based on the true story behind the subject of the famous, graphic image known as “The Scourged Back.”

The film is expected to release on Apple TV+ sometime in late 2022. However, with rising COVID concerns, it may be more like 2023.