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Why Director Antoine Fuqua Believes The Story Of Emancipation Is Too Important To Sideline

Director Antoine Fuqua's next movie is "Emancipation," a historical action epic that will shine a light on the American Civil War and the atrocities of slavery in the 1860s. The film stars Will Smith as an enslaved man who flees from a plantation and goes on the run, forcing him to outwit hunters as embarks on a quest for freedom.

"Emancipation" is also the first Will Smith movie to be released since his well-documented controversy at the 94th Academy Awards ceremony. The event saw the actor storm onto the stage and slap Chris Rock after the comedian made a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Some commentators have speculated that the slap ruined Will Smith's career, but Fuqua hopes that audiences will give "Emancipation" a chance when it premieres in theaters and on AppleTV this December.

The film's director discussed "Emancipation" during a recent interview, revealing that the movie is too important to ignore just because of one headline-grabbing controversy.

Antoine Fuqua hopes people can overlook Will Smith's Oscars controversy

Antoine Fuqua has been doing the press rounds to promote "Emancipation" ahead of its release, where he addressed the controversy surrounding Will Smith. That said, he believes that the film's story is too important to ignore. "Of course I wanted people to see the film," Fuqua told Vanity Fair. "My conversation was always, 'Isn't 400 years of slavery, of brutality, more important than one bad moment?'"

Fuqua continued by saying that some "really ugly things" have happened in Hollywood throughout the years and that people who are guilty of "really nasty things" have won awards. Smith's controversy pales in comparison to many of these incidents, but the distributors of "Emancipation" considered the potential backlash before making their final decision.

Fortunately for the movie, the powers that be rallied behind the project. "I think Apple considered all those things, and we discussed a lot of those things," Fuqua added. "Then, a decision was made by the people in charge of distribution and the money at Apple — and I'm grateful. I'm really grateful."