Will Smith Reveals A Co-Star Spat On Him While Filming 'Emancipation'

Chukwudi Onyewuchi
Star actor Will Smith
Shutterstock | 842245

American actor and rapper Will Smith is one of the most recognized faces in the movie industry. He has been around for many years and has a ton of acting credits under his belt. Although he is one of Hollywood's biggest superstars, the last few months weren't an easy one for the icon as he faced some setbacks in his career, one of which was the delay in the release of his new film Emancipation.

Directed by Antoine Fuqua, the movie was meant to hit the screens in the fall of 2022, but after the much-talked-about slap at the Oscars, Apple TV pushed its release date to 2023. However, on December 9, 2022, fans were delighted when Emancipation was released. Thankfully, the movie was a hit, but recently, Will revealed that the filming process wasn't easy, noting that he was even spat on by a co-star. Here are the details of the story.

Will Recalls His Shocking Experience On Set

During a conversation on Facebook Watch's Red Table Talk with his three kids, Willow, Jaden, and Trey Smith, Will opened up about what went down while filming Emancipation. The actor discussed the intensity of his role, noting that it was emotionally, physically, and spiritually taxing. Will also mentioned that the actors got so much in character, that at one point, an unnamed co-star spat in his face while filming.

Detailing the experience, the actor said to his kids:

"One of the first days on set, there is a scene with one of the actors, and he leans down in my face and says, 'You a cold one, ain't you?' and then he ad-libbed…"

Next, Will turned to his daughter, Willow, and imitated a spitting gesture.

Will's Reaction To The Jarring Experience

Will Smith reacts to spitting incident
Facebook Watch | Red Table Talk/Facebook Watch

After reenacting the off-script spitting, the Hollywood icon shared his exaggerated reaction, with his children bursting into laughter. The actor's reaction showed that he was shocked, speechless, and disgusted. Adding a chuckle, Will told his children that he immediately reached out to the Makeup department, before admitting that every actor on set took their roles seriously.

What Role Does Will Play?

Inspired by an iconic 1863 photo of the scarred back of "Whipped Peter," Will portrays the character Peter — an enslaved man who attempts to escape slavery while he uses his wits to dodge slave hunters and brave alligator-infested Louisiana swamps in his quest for freedom.

What Is 'Emancipation' All About?

Emancipation is based on the true story of Peter, a slave who runs away from his plantation in search of his family. He travels across the Louisiana swamp while outsmarting cold-blooded hunters along the way. Peter later joins the Union Army, and during his medical examination, they see his bare back, which has scars from a near-fatal whipping. 

A photo of his back was published in The Independent under the name "the scourged back," displaying the cruelty of slavery in the United States.