"It’s been heralded as one of the first viral images. Cameras were new, and that image of what is called ‘Whipped Peter’ went around the world in a way that changed human minds around the idea of slavery. As an artist you always hope to be able to do service to a story like that, my hope is that this film can have a lot of the same effect as it goes around the world to be able to open the hearts and minds of people about the plight of Blacks in America, but also the human tragedy of want and violence against one another."
“For me as an actor any time you work on a piece, you take away some of the character and I think the power of Peter’s gratitude is one of the things that I took away. [...] He puts his hand up and he praises God, in the middle of the hell, that hell he is living. I love that that moment, that moment has helped me. You want to learn to even be grateful for your difficulties, the relationship between suffering and salvation […] We hate that that’s the case, but your suffering is where you get your wisdom, your suffering is where you find your way, Peter has been really helpful.”
– Will Smith discusses the lasting effect of the haunting images of "Whipped Peter" that were taken during an 1863 Union Army medical exam and inspired the Apple TV+ film Emancipation, while walking the red carpet at the premiere. The Oscar winner plays Peter, a man who relies on his wits, unwavering faith, and deep love for his family to escape enslavement. Emancipation also stars Ben Foster and Charmaine Bingwa. It lands in select theaters on December 2 and Apple TV+ on December 9.