Will Smith believes that "nobody gets out of bearing their cross".

The 54-year-old actor plays a slave who makes his way to freedom in his new movie 'Emancipation', and Will admits that the role has really resonated with him.

The Hollywood star told 'Entertainment Tonight': "Peter has been in my heart in a beautiful way.

"The recognition of the relationship between suffering and salvation, the realisation that nobody gets out of bearing their cross. It's just been a really beautiful, beautiful transformation."

Will found shooting the movie to be a "rough, rugged and raw" experience.

The actor vividly remembers connecting with his character when he was "testing the neck chains".

He explained: "They had old school replicas. And he put the key in and it didn't work, and he couldn't get it off.

"And I was locked in it for about 15 minutes, for real. They're scrambling around and my mind is going crazy with these chains locked on, and all of the sudden I understood. I got it. I got a taste of what it must have felt like."

Meanwhile, Will attracted widespread criticism earlier this year after he hit Chris Rock during the Oscars ceremony.

The actor subsequently described his behaviour as "shocking, painful, and inexcusable".

Will - who resigned from the Oscars Academy after the controversial clash - said: "My actions at the 94th Academy Awards presentation were shocking, painful, and inexcusable.

"The list of those I have hurt is long and includes Chris, his family, many of my dear friends and loved ones, all those in attendance, and global audiences at home. I betrayed the trust of the Academy.

"I deprived other nominees and winners of their opportunity to celebrate and be celebrated for their extraordinary work. I am heartbroken.

"I want to put the focus back on those who deserve attention for their achievements and allow the Academy to get back to the incredible work it does to support creativity and artistry in film."