Will Smith in Early Talks to Star in Sci-Fi Thriller BRILLIANCE

     February 20, 2014


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.

brilliance-book-coverHere’s the synopsis for Marcus Sakey’s Brilliance:

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]

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  • Christian

    ‘I, Robot’ + ‘Limitless’ = Yawn. Sorry to break it to you, Will, but your movie choices of late have been horrible. Welcome to Earth.

    • Mezmero

      He basically owns in every film and name a bigger star than Will Smith? I think he makes good choices but If you actually read the story they chose him. He has more hits than misses but it seems like people focus more on him than Tom Hanks or Gorge Clooney. He gets the same treatment as Ryan Reynolds who is good actor and had a some flops but they overlook his Best Performances.

      • http://thenonessentials.blogspot.com/ Sean Chandler

        Will Smith of 2014 is not the same mega-star as Will Smith of 2006. In the last 5 years he’s only had one hit, and that was Men in Black III which was more of throw away hit. It was only a hit because it was a sequel and it’s not like it was a beloved hit.

        So his megastar status is in question because he hasn’t done anything new in half a decade which was a hit.

      • JBug

        Agreed, but MIB III was great in its own right.

      • http://thenonessentials.blogspot.com/ Sean Chandler

        I haven’t seen it yet. You’re the first person I’ve seen give it that level of praise.

      • Mezmero

        Thanks for not anserwing my question and he also took a well deserved break.

      • randommale7

        Robert Downey Jr. Bam! question answered.

      • Kristina John


        ✦✦✦ ✦✦�✦ ✦✦✦ ✦✦✦⮘✦ ✦✦✦I will be posting on my upcoming Film/TV/Music review.

      • http://thenonessentials.blogspot.com/ Sean Chandler

        I don’t care if he took a break. If I’m evaluating him as a human, that was probably a great decision given the age of his kids. We’re talking about him as a movie star. He didn’t come back from his break with a film which solidified his star status. He has one hit, and it was a well established franchise.

        But to answer your question (and this is only based on the last 5 years):

        Robert Downey Jr.
        Christian Bale
        The Rock
        Jennifer Lawrence
        Sandra Bullock
        Bradley Cooper

        All of these people have had both box-office and critical successes in multiple genres (maybe not the Rock with critical). If we’re talking all-time, sure Will Smith had an amazing run for about 15 years.

      • Strong Enough

        After Earth was a hit worldwide. MIB 3 was the highest grossing of the franchise. the man is still a hit as an actor

      • http://thenonessentials.blogspot.com/ Sean Chandler

        After Earth was a joke in the US, and MIB 3 came out 15 years after the original and was released in 3D.

        Is he still a star? Of course. We’re not discussing whether he’s a hit actor. We’re discussing whether he’s either the biggest star in the world or as big of a star as he was 10 years ago. If you think he’s either one of those things, you are wrong. There’s no way to defend either one of those assertions. He may be again. He’s just not on a hot streak right now.

        So exactly what point are you trying to make?

      • Strong Enough

        Who cares if After Earth is a joke? the fact is it was a original concept and starred will smith and was a hit. he is still a draw when it comes to the box office. people know when they take their families to a will smith movie they are going to be entertained. He has two hit movies back to back. how is that not a streak? lmao

      • http://thenonessentials.blogspot.com/ Sean Chandler

        You’re still not responding to what I’m actually saying. I didn’t say he’s not a star. I said he’s not as popular as he was in 2006 and he isn’t the biggest star in the world. In the last five years he has had a franchise film which was a hit, and an original property which bombed in it’s country of origin and made $243 million worldwide on a $130 budget. Was it profitable? Sure. Were the numbers on par with Hancock, I Am Legend, I Robot or even Hitch? No.

        Are you arguing that he is still the biggest movie star in the world or you just being argumentative?

      • Strong Enough

        He is STILL the biggest star in world. After all these years the man can STILL make a profit even with a M NIGHT movie. if that isn’t amazing i don’t what is. All of his movies are hit movies. just because he laid back on making more movies doesn’t make him less of a star. Eveyrone loves Will Smith. he is still likable and profitable. name one bigger movie star. What Robert Downy? please all of his hits have been franchise and the ones that aren’t haven’t been as successful as smith. There is no one who can draw people to a theater like will can. Maybe Tom Cruise but there is no one else WORLDWIDE

      • milo

        “All of his movies are hit movies.”

        What are you smoking? Unless your standards are so low that all of everyone’s movies are hit movies.

      • Strong Enough

        Hit meaning profitable and yes his last two definitely were. wtf is with you people? why are arguing against FACTS?

      • milo

        After Earth made 60M domestic and 244M worldwide, and cost 130M. Maybe it broke even worldwide but there’s no way in hell that would be considered a hit. And MIB3 was the *lowest* grossing of the series domestic. Worldwide sure, but MIB2 came out in 2002 and every movie makes way more overseas now than they did in 2002. Worldwide just isn’t a meaningful comparison.

        And MIB3 made 179M domestic but cost $225M! Even if it made money worldwide, there’s no way the studio is happy with that. And those examples are the best performing of his recent movies.

      • Strong Enough

        Thank you for proving my point idiot. Will Smith is still the biggest star in the world.

    • orianalianna

      Don’t forget that horrible After Earth Scientology movie he ‘wrote’ and starred in.

  • Neo Racer

    No, please, No.

  • JBug

    I bet you Will Smith kills the bad guy in the end.

    • The Flobbit

      I bet you Jaden plays a young, attractive, immature Brilliant who Will has to work together with.

    • ʝoe ßloggs

      Like he did in I Am Legend?

  • eternalozzie

    No .. just no … this guy is same d-bag character in every movie … he basically just plays his ego in each role. No talent there.

    • Mezmero

      He has to have an EGO to be movie star but your overlooking is charities and positive outlook on life. I don’t know what your impact on people is but it’s nothing like his. What would you call yourself for calling him a douche you must be Mr.Nice Guy Lmao Your A Dick.

      • eternalozzie

        Wow … I really struck a nerve. You are allowed to worship whoever you like … even bad actors.

      • mixedkidmonkey

        No .. just no … this guy is same d-bag burger flipper in every fast food joint … he
        basically just does the same type of work at every job. No talent there.

  • Mezmero

    This kills me how many people THINK they know so much about acting. Your on a movies site but you can’t tell the difference between good actors and perps. All these flop artist out here and you love thier nuts but a proven star you say your sick of. I hope some of would show me your work and I’ll review it. I will be posting on my upcoming Film/TV/Music review. If your good I will promote your work if not then I will not hold back. I’ll will have my work so you can talk shit about my amateur acting skills too. FAIR?

    • Mick-e-Taker

      Take it easy there. ‘eternalozzie’ is clearly an idiot. He’s probably an S.P. And most likely an agent of Xenu. He probably hates Tom Cruise too. Will and Tom should be president of the world.

  • orianalianna

    Sounds like a flop. He’s like Tom Cruise, he’s been playing the same damn character for the past 15 years.

    • Strong Enough

      His last two movies were hits worldwide as was Tom cruise’s last movies. the man still has it

      • orianalianna

        Yeah but Twilight was also a hit by success standards – that doesn’t make Twilight a masterpiece. Success is meaningless today. Nor does it negate the fact that they are both stuck in the same movie relatively for the past 15 years.

      • ʝoe ßloggs

        I don’t watch a Will Smith movie to be educated.
        I watch it to be entertained.
        That being said, I agree that his royal smugness has been phonin-it in for several of his movies.

      • Strong Enough

        what in gods name are you talking about? no one is talking about critically. we were talking box office. you said flop and i corrected you. BOO YAH!

      • orianalianna

        A flop doesn’t have to be about box office numbers. Once AGAIN I’ll point out TWILIGHT was not a ‘flop’ at the box office – it was still a flop in terms of everything else that actually matters in cinema. BOO YAH KASHA!

      • milo

        Look at Cruise’s recent movies. Oblivion, Rock of Ages, Knight & Day, Valkyrie, and Lions for Lambs all lost money. Jack Reacher cost 60M and made 80M, that’s OK but nothing to get excited about.

        MI4 was his one real hit. Even MI3 didn’t make back its budget. So keeping score, after War of the Worlds in 2005 he has made eight movies and one has come out in the black. And no, “worldwide” hasn’t been good enough to turn their bad domestic performance into a hit.

      • Strong Enough

        Jack Reacher made all of its money back worldwide. So did Obvilion

    • aaaa1

      Rock of ages bitch!

  • Matty

    I wish he agreed to Independence Day 2

  • Redjester

    Talk about dumbing down a potentially interesting and intelligent sci-fi premise. This is going to be iRobot all over again.

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  • http://www.collider.com/ DNAsplitter

    WTF Will Smith!? Where is my Bad Boys 3 that you promised? Quitting fucking around with these crappy sci-fi pics and get back to making over the top action flicks that we all love.