Will Smith has signed on to star in the Paramount sci-fi movie Brilliance. Again. If this news sounds familiar it’s because Smith was previously attached to star in the same project several years ago. Back then it was at Legendary/Universal, but he ultimately pulled out to instead star in the NFL drama Concussion.
Smith will re-team with Oscar-winning screenwriter Akiva Goldsman for the project. The two have previously collaborated on I, Robot, I Am Legend and Hancock. The film is being adapted from Marcus Sakey‘s trilogy of novels.
The trilogy is set in a future where 1% of the world has developed unique gifts that threaten the status quo of the “normal” population. These non-neurotypical people, referred to as Twists or Abnorms, are tracked by the government. It’s Nick Cooper’s job to track down and terminate Abnorms who use their gifts to commit crimes.
However, not only is Nick an Abnorm himself, but so is his daughter. The film is being designed as a franchise starter, naturally. The first film will find Nick infiltrating a radical group of Brilliants who plan to incite a civil war in the hopes of bringing down its mastermind.
It sounds like everybody’s favourite sci-fi tropes wrapped into one. As mentioned, he and Goldsman previously collaborated on I, Robot, which has some similarities to this. The Steven Spielberg/Tom Cruise vehicle Minority Report, also from the same era, comes to mind too.
This is the kind of movie Smith used to star in in, say, the early 2000s when his movie stardom was arguably at its peak.
In fact, Smith seems to be making a conscious effort to get back to the sort of films he used to make. Although he just starred in Disney’s live-action Aladdin, he’s got Ang Lee‘s Gemini Man up next – another sci-fi thriller – and the trailer for Bad Boys For Life dropped last week.
We’ll see if these projects can catapult Smith back to the top of Hollywood. If not, it’s perhaps the most damning proof yet that the traditional idea of a movie star is dying a slow death.