Ben Foster Talks ‘Emancipation’ And How Racist And Anti-Semitic Rhetoric Persists Today


Ben Foster’s role in ‘Emancipation’ directly correlates to the racism and antisemitism that persists today.

Ben Foster in 'Emancipation' production stills

Source: Courtesy Apple TV+ / Apple TV+

Ben Foster Opens Up About ‘Emancipation’ Relating To Current Bigotry

Global Grind Senior Content Director Janeé Bolden spoke with ‘Emancipation’ star Ben Foster about playing the villain Jim Fassel in the movie.

“It was a profoundly altering opportunity to work with Antoine and Will and ask these questions of what our country has done to each other, where we are currently today,” Foster told Global Grind. “It was heartwrenching and inspiring and I’m honored to be a part of this one.”

Foster spoke about how he and director Antoine Fuqua wanted to tap into the ugly reality of how racism and antisemitism continue to persist.

“Internationally we are seeing terrifying spikes of racial and antisemitic violence,” Foster said. “So Antoine and I decided – well we didn’t decide, we just intuited — how do we incorporate what’s going on today in a historical framework. Throughout the film, it felt vital, rather than making it something that’s brutal and dusty, to feel relevant to today. And we created intuitively a way of speaking to one another. How do you speak about hate speech? How do you speak with one another? How do we decide what kind of acts of violence? When you turn on the TV and you see something. It’s like, that’s how we’re going to address this scene. And it’s happening today. We wouldn’t use the words. We would decide to use the words when they were useful, or most pertinent to the scene. And we wouldn’t just do an act of violence purposelessly. This film is waking people up.”

Will Smith and Ben Foster Emancipation production still

Source: Courtesy Apple TV+ / Apple TV+

Foster also addressed how his character proclaims himself as Peter’s (Will Smith’s character) God.

“How do you get to that place where you feel you can lord over a human being?” Foster told Global Grind. So the route became, hate is learned. We’re not born hating each other, so how can we unlearn that?”

Emancipation is currently streaming on Apple TV+. Have you watched yet? What did you think of the film and performances?