EXCLUSIVE: Newcomer Imani Pullum has joined the cast of Apple Original Films’ Emancipation. She’ll star in the thriller alongside previously announced cast members Will Smith, Ben Foster, Charmaine Bingwa, Gilbert Owuor, Mustafa Shakir, Steven Ogg, Grant Harvey, Ronnie Gene Blevins, Jayson Warner Smith, Jabbar Lewis, Michael Luwoye and Aaron Moten.
The Antoine Fuqua pic currently in production in New Orleans tells the story of Peter (Smith), a man who escapes from slavery—relying on his wits, unwavering faith and deep love for his family to evade cold-blooded hunters and the unforgiving swamps of Louisiana on his quest for freedom. The film is inspired by the 1863 photos of “Whipped Peter,” taken during a Union Army medical examination, that first appeared in Harper’s Weekly. One image, known as “The Scourged Back,” which shows Peter’s bare back mutilated by a whipping delivered by his enslavers, ultimately contributed to growing public opposition to slavery.
In her first major studio feature outing, Pullum will portray Peter’s eldest daughter, Betsy.
Smith and Jon Mone are producing the film scripted by William N. Collage through Westbrook Studios, with Joey McFarland through McFarland Entertainment and Todd Black through Escape Artists. Fuqua, Chris Brigham, James Lassiter, Cliff Roberts and Glen Basner are executive producing.
Emancipation is one of a number of anticipated releases from Apple. Other upcoming projects on its slate include Benjamin Cleary’s sci-fi drama Swan Song, starring Mahershala Ali and Naomi Harris; Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth, starring Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand, which was produced in partnership with A24; and Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro. Swan Song is scheduled for release on December 17, with The Tragedy of Macbeth premiering on December 25.
Pullum is represented by Laura Thede and Alicia Beekman at DDO Artists Agency and Nelson Paredez and Garrett Lindsay at ESI Network.
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