Local child actress works alongside Will Smith in ‘Emancipation’

Jordyn McIntosh is having a busy 2022.

The local actress, who recently turned 9 years old, can be seen in the new film “Emancipation,” a new Antoine Fuqua movie starring Will Smith as an enslaved man on the run from his captors. McIntosh plays Laurette, one of Smith’s daughters in the movie.

In just one year, McIntosh has appeared in several high profile projects. Earlier this year, she appeared as a young Sasha Obama in “The First Lady.” She also recently performed in “The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry” as the daughter to the titular character.

Credit: Bella Saville

Credit: Bella Saville

“Emancipation” is loosely based on the true story of Gordon, a formerly enslaved man who gained national recognition when pictures of his scarred back were circulated in 1863. The photographs helped bolster the abolitionist movement at the time.

McIntosh said the heavy subject matter of the film did make her a little nervous in the lead up to viewing the movie, but she thought the filmmakers did a great job. At the premiere, she said she loved spending time on the red carpet and taking time to answer interview questions and take pictures.

“I was trying to make the red carpet part slow, with all the interviews,” she said. “I also liked answering questions and stuff. I also love to take pictures — like by myself, I take selfies a lot. That was amazing, to be on the red carpet.”

McIntosh was born in Omaha, Nebraska, but moved to the Atlanta area at a very young age. She said her dad signed her up for acting lessons as a kid to give her an outlet for all of her energy.

“In pre-K, I was a very energetic kid,” she said. “Like I was up, dancing around, singing in class. And my dad was like, OK I need Jordyn to calm down in class, so let’s try to sign her up for something.”

Once her dad picked acting, McIntosh was hooked. She started training at the Alliance Theater, and then later at The Actor’s Scene in Buford.

“As soon as I started it, I fell in love with acting lessons,” McIntosh said.

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From Viola Davis in “The First Lady” to Will Smith in “Emancipation,” McIntosh has appeared alongside some very famous names through the year. She said she knew who Smith was beforehand because of his appearance as the Genie in the 2019 live-action “Aladdin” remake.

“The live action was really good,” McIntosh said, before adding in what some might consider a hot take: “I prefer the live action to the classic. I’m so sorry!”

McIntosh said during the shoot, which took place in the New Orleans area, she loved heading into the city during downtime to grab beignets with some of the other cast members. But while she’s loved all of the movie and television sets she’s been a part of, she said one in particular was a lot of fun.

“I kind of liked working on ‘Abbott Elementary,’” she said. “It was fun!”

McIntosh is expected to appear in an episode of the Emmy Award-winning sitcom in January. But for now, she hopes that people take the time to watch “Emancipation.”

“I really want people to watch this movie,” McIntosh said. “I want them to understand how enslaved people were being treated back then and how hard it was for them.”

“Emancipation” is available on Apple TV+.


Credit: Reporter Newspapers

Credit: Reporter Newspapers

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