‘He Was So Thin’: Charmaine Bingwa Didn’t Recognize Will Smith After His Transformation For New Role

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Leena Nasir Entertainment Reporter
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Actress Charmaine Bingwa said she didn’t recognize her very famous “Emancipation” co-star, Will Smith, when she first laid eyes on him on set because he had a much smaller frame than she had imagined.

Bingwa said she was excited to meet Smith for the first time when she arrived to the New Orleans set, but she had to do a double take to determine if it was really Smith standing there in front of her, according to People. “When I first saw Will, he was so thin,” said during her interview with People. “He got so skinny for this role to be able to play him, and I did not recognize him. I was like, ‘Where’s Will Smith? This is wild,'” she added.

When the initial shock wore off, Bingwa was able to move on with the scenes and said she really enjoyed working with Smith on the meaningful project.

“I was so inspired by his transformation, and he’s a great leader,” Bingwa said. “I think we all just followed suit and committed as hard as he did,” she said, describing Smith’s work ethic and dedication to the role.

In “Emancipation,” Smith plays Peter, a man that is on the run through Louisiana as he tries to evade slave hunters, according to People. The movie follows his journey to freedom. Bingwa stars as his wife, Dodienne, in the film. (RELATED: The Golden Globe Nominations Have Already Raised A Few Eyebrows)

Smith focused on losing weight for the role to fit the character as closely as possible. The Apple  TV + film is directed by Antoine Fuqua and was inspired by the 1863 picture of “Whipped Peter” which became historically significant evidence of the brutal effects of slavery when it was first featured in Harper’s Weekly, according to People.

Bingwa described Smith as being “a very encouraging, beautiful soul.”