Will Smith was joined by his kids Trey Smith, Jaden Smith and Willow Smith for a special Red Table Talk takeover about his new movie, Emancipation, on Dec. 14. In the round table discussion, which aired on Facebook Watch, the kids got to ask Will all about what it was like to play an enslaved man in the movie, which is streaming on Apple TV+. Jaden specifically asked Will, who is 6’2″, about the “physicality” of the role and wondered what his dad had to go through to “get [his] body into place.” He also pointed out that Willow noticed the actor was “getting skinnier and skinnier” throughout filming.
“I was probably about 225-ish [pounds] when I started and at the lowest on the movie, I got to 195,” Will revealed, confirming his 30 pound weight loss. “For me, the physicality is a big part of what makes people go WHOA! To be able to transition and manipulate your body as an actor is a big part of the suspensions of disbelief for people. And actually being out in the swamps…it’s hot, it’s nasty, you’re in the swamp, your hands are dirty…so you don’t really want to grab food and eat.”
Back in May 2021, Will posted a photo of himself on Instagram and declared he was in the “worst shape” of his life. In the RTT interview, he admitted that that photo was the “beginning of [his] preparation to lose weight” to play Peter in Emancipation. “This is the body that carried me through an entire pandemic and countless days of grazing through the pantry,” Will explained in a second Instagram post, where he posed shirtless. “I love this body but I wanna FEEL better. No more midnight muffins…this is it. I’mma get in the BEST SHAPE OF MY LIFE!!!!!!”
He teamed up with YouTube to create a new series called Best Shape of My Life, which aired in November. The series followed Will as he tried to lose 20 pounds in 20 weeks, while simultaneously working on his memoir (the book came out on Nov. 9, 2021). Throughout his journey on the show, Will not only transformed physically, but also took a deeper dive into his mental health, learning what he had to work on in that aspect of himself, too.
In Emancipation, Will plays an enslaved man named Peter who escapes his plantation in Louisiana in the 1860s. The movie, which also stars Ben Foster, began streaming on Apple TV+ on Dec. 9.Click to Subscribe to Get Our Free HollywoodLife Daily Newsletter to get the hottest celeb news.