Will Smith is the new host of “Red Table Talk.”
Normally co-hosted by Jada Pinkett Smith, Adrienne Banfield-Norris, and Willow Smith, the actor takes over as host on Wednesday to talk about his Apple TV+ film “Emancipation.”
The Oscar-winning actor invites his three children, Trey Smith, Willow Smith, and Jaden Smith, to discuss why he believes it is “critical” for their generation to see the film.
Smith plays Peter, a Haitian slave who flees plantation owners in Louisiana after hearing that President Abraham Lincoln had just issued the Emancipation Proclamation. The film is based on a true-life runaway turned Union soldier whose 1863 photo of his lacerated back, dubbed “The Scourged Back” or “Whipped Peter,” galvanised the North to speak out against the continuation of slavery in the South after abolition.
“It was really important for me for you guys… and really your generation to see this movie and understand the foundations of this story and what it means in this country,” Smith says to his children in an exclusive sneak peek clip from Wednesday’s “Red Table Talk” episode.
The actor recalls crying after Barack Obama was elected president in 2008; his children, on the other hand, were perplexed because they were already convinced that he would win.
“You guys grew up in a very different era,” Smith says. “And so it’s really different to me when you know where you’ve been (and) it helps give you a better sense of where you’re going or even why certain things are the way they are,” says the author.
Smith previously discussed Willow’s scepticism upon learning of his involvement in the film. “My daughter asked me, ‘Daddy, do we really need another slave movie?'” he told “The Daily Show” in November.
“‘Baby, I promised you I wouldn’t make a slave movie,’ I said. This is a film about liberty,’ “He stated.
Smith gives a “strong performance” in “Emancipation,” according to USA TODAY’s Brian Truitt. However, “so much of the film is spent on chase or war scenes that it becomes more about the action than the man at the centre at key times.”
“The film has a thrilling pace, especially with Peter on the run. With images of decapitated heads, whips and screams, and other horrific traumas suffered by enslaved people at the time, it’s not an easy watch “Truitt continues.