Will Smith on ‘Emancipation’ Role: ‘I Went Too Far’ (Watch)

Kevin Hart interviews Will Smith on Peacock's "Hart to Heart"
Kevin Hart and Will Smith

*Will Smith says he took method acting to the extreme during his role in “Emancipation,” his first release since the infamous Oscar slap.

The box office powerhouse told Kevin Hart on a new episode of Peacock’s “Hart to Heart” talk show that he “went too far” as an actor while portraying an enslaved man in the Apple TV+ drama. The film followed the true story of Peter, a runaway slave whose photograph of his severely scarred back from multiple whippings became a rallying call for the abolition of slavery.

“I went too far in ‘Emancipation,’” Smith told Hart. “Just bringing it up, I start to get teary. I wanted to feel the degradation of slavery, and I went too far in. That level of human brutality… I had the chains on my neck and we were working. I wanted the real weight of them. I wanted real chains. They put it on my neck and they were fitting it for size and the prop master went to put the key in and it didn’t work.”

“I’m standing there and they’re running around and they couldn’t get me out of it,” Smith continued. “I’m standing there in those chains, right on that hyperventilating edge.”

Smith said that “coming face to face with that level of atrocity” left him shaken and turning to God.

“I wouldn’t give it back,” he said. “It was one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had as an actor. Peter introduced me to God. My faith got solid after working on that movie.”

Watch Smith’s appearance on the “Hart to Heart” talk show below.

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