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Will Smith’s ‘Emancipation’ Adds Ben Foster, Charmaine Bingwa, Gilbert Owuor and Mustafa Shakir to Cast

Antoine Fuqua is directing the runaway slave drama set up at Apple

Ben Foster, Charmaine Bingwa, Gilbert Owuor and Mustafa Shakir have joined the cast of “Emancipation,” the runaway slave drama starring Will Smith that’s set up at Apple.

Antoine Fuqua is directing the film from a script by Bill Collage, which is based on true events and is the story of Peter, a runaway slave forced to outwit cold-blooded hunters and the punishing Louisiana swamp on a tortuous journey to the Union Army and his only chance at freedom. Smith is playing the lead.

Foster (“Hell or High Water”) in the film will play Fassel, a man who doggedly pursues any enslaved person who attempts to flee to freedom. Bingwa (“The Good Fight,” “Black Box,” “Trees of Peace”) will play Peter’s beloved wife Dodienne. Owuor (“Montana Story,” “Mute,” “Reprisal,” “Calls”) will play Gordon, an enslaved man working at the same camp as Peter. And Shakir (“Soul Assassin,” “Cowboy Bebop,” “Marvel’s Luke Cage” and “The Deuce”) plays Cailloux, a free Black man who serves in the Union Army.

The film is inspired by the famous photo circa 1863 known as “The Scourged Back.” The photo, taken during a Union Army medical examination, depicts a runaway slave dubbed “Whipped Peter” who became a symbol for the abolitionist movement when he was photographed in Harper’s Weekly with severe whipping scars all along his back.

Smith, James Lassiter and Jon Mone are producing “Emancipation” through Westbrook Studios with McFarland Entertainment’s Joey McFarland and Escape Artists’ Todd Black. Fuqua is executive producing under his Fuqua Films banner, alongside Cliff Roberts.

Ben Foster most recently starred in “Leave No Trace” from Debra Granik and “Galveston” from Mélanie Laurent. Foster will next be seen in the action thriller “Violence of Action” and Barry Levinson’s “The Survivor.”

Ben Foster is represented by UTA and attorney Felker Toczek Suddleson Abramson. Charmaine Bingwa is represented by Artists First, UTA, Smith & Macdonald Creative, attorney Nelson Davis and Viewpoint. Gilbert Owuor is represented by D2 Management and Innovative Artists. Mustafa Shakur is represented by The Gersh Agency, Robyn Bluestone Management and Schreck Rose Dapello Adams Berlin & Dunham.