Writer/director M. Night Shyamalan may team up with Will Smith on his next movie venture. According to recent reports, the secretive director is collaborating with Smith’s Overbrook production company on a science fiction film titled One Thousand A.E. While nothing is concrete at the moment, Heat Vision states that the project is being developed as a starring vehicle for Smith’s son Jaden, last seen in The Karate Kid remake earlier this year. No word on whether Big Willie will figure in the film — suffice to say the last time he and Jaden teamed up, they created a little masterpiece entitled The Pursuit of Happyness.
However, the best part about this breaking news is that Shyamalan will not write the script! I repeat: he will not write the script! That job will instead fall on Gary Whitta (The Book of Eli), meaning Shyamalan will stick to what he does best: directing. Sony will likely produce A.E., though that too is merely speculation. Hit the jump for more mind bending twists.
With The Last Airbender I learned two things: 1) That Shyamalan should never again in the history of the world write another screenplay, and 2) That Shyamalan the director is one of the best in the industry – The Happening notwithstanding. Airbender was disappointing, to say the least, but the action sequences were quite brilliant. Shyamalan knows how to craft an effective scene; he just doesn’t know how to write dialogue. With news that Whitta will write the screenplay, though, maybe Shyamalan has learned his lesson (the one he should have learned about three or four movies ago). I’ve always felt he could be the best in the business if he would just set aside his massive ego and focus on crafting great stories instead of focusing on various ways to slap “Written and Directed by M. Night Shyamalan” at the finale of each of his films.
Smith on the other hand is a bankable actor, but one who is clearly itching for some Oscar recognition (see Seven Pounds … or wait … maybe you shouldn’t). He’s a terrific actor, but one who is in dire need of a new franchise. I had hoped that his entertaining, but oddly misguided superhero flick Hancock would lead to bigger and better sequels. Such is not the case as Smith is keenly trying to reignite the flames of yesteryear with returns to the Men in Black and Independence Day films, for better or worse.
Tellingly, I would love to see Big Willie team with Shyamalan in a thriller (perhaps a Hancock versus David Dunn superhero pic), but for now Jaden will do. The young actor proved himself quite the talent in The Karate Kid. Maybe this move will shoot him to A-list status. Or is he already there?
Another interesting tidbit is that A.E. is not the “top secret” project the director was shopping around back in June, which was rumored to reunite him with his Unbreakable and Sixth Sense star Bruce Willis. According to the report, it never found a buyer, and was “quietly shelved.”
What do you think? Is this a good move for Shyamalan? Should Smith, Sr. star? Is Jaden the man?