Looks like Skydance is putting the wheels fast in motion on one of Hollywood’s longest undeveloped scripts, the sci-fi action thriller Gemini Man. Over the weekend, we learned that the studio was eyeing Life of Pi and Bill Lynn’s Long Half-Time Walk helmer to direct the film, which follows an aging assassin looking to retire when he comes up against the ultimate opponent: a younger clone of himself. Today, THR brings the news that Will Smith is in talks to take on the lead role, a gig that would likely put him on double duty as both the older and younger version of the character.
Gemini Man has been floating around Hollywood for the last two decades, first set up at Disney in 1997 as a pitch by Darren Lemke with Tony Scott attached to direct and Don Murphy producing. Over the years, the project passed through a number of creative teams — screenwriters Brian Helgeland, Andrew Niccol and David Benioff all took a pass at the script — but the film never came together, in large part because of the challenges inherent in pitting two versions of the same character against each other.
Technology has come a long way since the initial pitch, and while the original plan was to have two actors play the roles (an example of how old the project is, THR reports that “the idea was to have an actor such as Harrison Ford play the older assassin and someone like Chris O’Donnell play the younger version”), Skydance is looking to have a single actor play both with the help of digital de-ageing. Skydance picked up the project last October with Murphy and Jerry Bruckheimer on board as producers, and if the deals comes together, it looks like they might finally be able to get this thing in front of cameras.
Smith’s deal is not done yet, and the actor’s schedule is on of the matters that still needs to be resolved. Smith was recently reported as the frontrunner for the role of the Genie in Disney’s live-action Aladdin remake. There’s also the matter of Suicide Squad 2, which is still lining up a director, and the fabled Bad Boys 3, which is back on the director hunt after Joe Carnahan dropped off the project. Smith can next be seen re-teaming with Squad director David Ayer in Netflix’s Bright, which lands on the streaming service later this year.