Matt Baron/BEI/Shutterstock Charmaine Bingwa and Will Smith
At the Antoine Fuqua-directed film's Los Angeles premiere Wednesday night, Bingwa gushed to PEOPLE of the "beautiful" Smith, 51: "He's very generous and I like to work with actors who, when you look in their eyes, you can kind of see the world in their eyes, and he has that."
The Good Fight actress, who pays Smith's character's wife in the drama, goes on to note that it felt "so easy to be connected to him on screen."
"And it worked, because we had a great love to portray, you know? So I'm very glad it was that way. It would be a different movie otherwise," Bingwa continues. "But no, he's marvelous."
"I think the whole world loves him," she says.
Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human-interest stories.
Eric Charbonneau/Shutterstock Cast of Emancipation (2022)
Asked what makes Smith a star, Foster, 42, who plays a man pursuing enslaved people seeking freedom, says, "It's like, how do you describe a sunset? How do you describe the stars? Some people just have the thing."
"But what I saw was him going deeper than I've ever seen before," he adds.
Foster tells PEOPLE he has been a fan of Smith — who stars in Emancipation as Peter, a man running from hunters and through Louisiana on his journey toward freedom — "for a long time."
"So [it was] an honor to work with him, and he's done some of the finest work, I believe, of his career," the actor continues of Smith's role in the film.
Smith attended the premiere as well, alongside his entire family at Los Angeles' Regency Village Theatre for the red-carpet event.
During his recent press tour, Smith said that he will "absolutely respect" moviegoers who are "not ready" to see the new movie in the wake of the Oscars incident in which he slapped Chris Rock, and expressed concerns that his actions at the ceremony will negatively impact Emancipation.
Asked on Wednesday by PEOPLE why he felt this was the right movie to reintroduce himself to audiences, he said, "I was seeing a lot of the same patterns where we're starting to creep up in the American media and social media. I wanted to be a part of creating something that could be helpful."
"There's a harsh reality in this film that I feel when you confront it, when you have to look at it, I hope it creates empathy and compassion that will help us to avoid some of the same paths that we went down as a country in the past," the actor added.
Aside from Smith, Bingwa and Foster, Emancipation also stars Gilbert Owuor, Mustafa Shakir, Steven Ogg, Grant Harvey, Ronnie Gene Bivens, Jayson Warner Smith, Jabbar Lewis, Michael Luwoye, Aaron Moten and Imani Pullum.
Emancipation premieres in theaters Friday and begins streaming globally on Apple TV+ Dec. 9.