Will Smith’s Emancipation co-stars were so invested in the period piece that one unscripted incident caught him off guard.
This week, the actor, 54, joins over Red Table Talk to discuss his makeover for the new film with his three children, Willow, 22, Jaden, 24, and Trey Smith, 30. Will plays a guy named Peter who escapes slavery in Antoine Fuqua’s film Emancipation, which is based on a true incident.
Will remembers a time while filming when a costar “ad-libbed” by spitting on him in a clip shared exclusively with PEOPLE.
“As the years have gone on I’ve gotten more and more locked into these characters for longer periods of time,” he explained. “And it’s just the weight of this story, the weight of these experiences — the quality of these actors. It was emotionally, it was physically, it was spiritually taxing.”
“One of the first days on set, there is a scene with one of the actors and he leans down in my face and says, ‘You a cold one, ain’t you?’ and then he ad-libbed…,” Will recalled as he then turned to simulate spitting on Willow, then showcasing his over-the-top reaction to the moment as his kids laughed.
Will joked, “I was like, ‘Makeup!’ No, but it was like … I was like, Whoa, every actor on this set was taking it really, really seriously.”
More about Emancipation can be found in the whole episode, including Will’s admission that he nearly “went too far” and “lost himself” in a part for the first time in his career. It includes surprise appearances from director Antoine Fuqua, co-star Ben Foster, and Will’s mother Caroline Bright.
Will Smith’s Red Table Talk Takeover with Willow, Jaden, and Trey will be available to watch on Facebook Watch starting Wednesday at 9 a.m. PT/12 p.m. ET.