Will Smith’s last two starring roles were for sci-fi oriented films (After Earth and Men in Black 3), and it appears that the actor is keen on continuing that trajectory for his next project. The Wrap reports that Smith is in early talks to star in the sci-fi thriller Brilliance, which is being developed as a potential tentpole for Legendary and Universal. The pic is based on the Marcus Sakey novel of the same name and takes place in a world where once percent of people are born with heightened cognitive abilities, dubbed “brilliants.” Smith would play a federal agent whose gift is put to good use hunting terrorists, but he meets his match when he must track down another “brilliant” who is bent on igniting a civil war. David Koepp (Jurassic Park, War of the Worlds) penned the screenplay, and Julius Onah (God Particle) is set to direct. Onah is also developing a separate sci-fi project for Paramount and J.J. Abrams‘ Bad Robot.
Smith seems like a solid choice to lead this kind of high-concept thriller, and his attachment would certainly put the film on the fast track towards production. The actor will next be seen onscreen opposite Margot Robbie in the con man pic Focus, which opens next February. Read a synopsis for Sakey’s Brilliance after the jump.
In Wyoming, a little girl reads people’s darkest secrets by the way they fold their arms. In New York, a man sensing patterns in the stock market racks up $300 billion. In Chicago, a woman can go invisible by being where no one is looking. They’re called “brilliants,” and since 1980, one percent of people have been born this way. Nick Cooper is among them; a federal agent, Cooper has gifts rendering him exceptional at hunting terrorists. His latest target may be the most dangerous man alive, a brilliant drenched in blood and intent on provoking civil war. But to catch him, Cooper will have to violate everything he believes in—and betray his own kind.
From Marcus Sakey, “a modern master of suspense” (Chicago Sun-Times) and “one of our best storytellers” (Michael Connelly), comes an adventure that’s at once breakneck thriller and shrewd social commentary; a gripping tale of a world fundamentally different and yet horrifyingly similar to our own, where being born gifted can be a terrible curse. [Amazon]