Will Smith last appeared on screen in the 2008 drama Seven Pounds. The next film he officially has on the books is Men in Black III, which hits theaters May 25, 2012. I hope the Fresh Prince drops another curse-free album in that time, but at the very least, we can look forward to “Will Smith: Producer.” His Overbrook Entertainment produced this summer’s Karate Kid remake as a vehicle for son Jaden, and Smith is currently developing a feature with James Lassiter and Kevin Stovitz based on the life of Dr. S. Allen Counter, “modern-day explorer and African-American neuroscience professor.” He must have an awesome business card. More after the jump:
Here’s a richer bio of Counter courtesy of Variety:
“Counter began his research on indigenous peoples in the 1970s in Surinam on the rain forest descendants of 17th and 18th century African slaves. Along with David Evans, he produced a documentary on the culture and history of the rain forest peoples called I Shall Moulder Before I Shall Be Taken.
Counter traveled to northern Greenland in 1986 on a scientific mission and found the sons of the North Pole co-discoverers Robert E. Peary and African-American Matthew Henson, then raised funds to finance the journey of these sons and their families to the U.S. to meet their American relatives. Counter also sought recognition for Henson’s contributions to Arctic exploration.”
Farhad Safinia (Apocalypto) will script the feature, which I would imagine centers around the voyage to Greenland. There is no indication that Smith has any intention to star, but Counter turned 32 in 1986, so they might have to fudge the ages a bit if Smith (41) does decide to assume what appears to be a very meaty role.
There is always the possibility that the biggest movie star in the world could squeeze in a gig prior to the release of MIB 3. In the past year, he has been mentioned in connection with:
- a remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s Suspcicion
- a remake of Uptown Saturday Night with Denzel Washington
- an adaptation of Flowers for Algernon with Steven Spielberg
- the adventure fantasy The City That Sailed with I Am Legend director Francis Lawrence
I, for one, hope that last one happens. Andrew Niccol penned the script, and like all Niccol scripts (Gattaca, The Truman Show), the conceit is rather unique. Here’s a brief plot synopsis:
The story follows a New York City street magician whose daughter, because of family circumstances, lives in England. In exploring a lighthouse one day, the girl discovers a room with magic candles and wishes to be reunited with her father, causing the island of Manhattan to break away and drift across the Atlantic.
Smith reportedly had to decide between The City That Sailed and the MIB sequel for his next film earlier this year. It looks like the extraterrestrial franchise won out, which is a disappointing choice at face value. That’s not to say City won’t eventually get made: Smith is the kind of star that you wait for.