Will Smith is once again set to star in Paramount’s sci-fi movie Brilliance, which Oscar-winning screenwriter Akiva Goldsman will adapt from the novel by Marcus Sakey, Collider has confirmed.
If the news rings a bell, it’s because Smith was previously attached to star in this same project several years ago when it was at Legendary/Universal, though he ultimately pulled out in order to star in Sony’s NFL drama Concussion. It’s actually kind of funny how scripts make their way around town before circling back, and I assume that any issues Smith may have had with the project have since been addressed in the interim.
The Brilliance trilogy is set in a future where 1% of the world has developed unique gifts that threaten the status quo of the “normal” population. These non-neurotypical people, who are referred to as “twists” or “abnorms,” are carefully tracked by the government. Smith will play a government agent named Nick Cooper whose job is to track down and terminate abnorms who use their gifts to commit crimes. Not only is Nick an abnorm himself, but so is his daughter. The first film will find Nick infiltrating a radical group of Brilliants who plan to incite a civil war in the hopes of bringing down its mastermind, a dangerous abnorm imaginatively named John Smith.
So yeah… it’s basically like The Terminator meets X-Men meets Minority Report, or something like that.
Smith will produce via his new Westbrook banner, while Goldman will produce under his Weed Road label. James Lassiter will also produce, and that trio will be joined by Shane Salerno and The Story Factory. Sakey will serve as a co-producer on the project, which Paramount executive Alex Jackson will oversee on behalf of the studio.
Smith and Goldsman previously collaborated on I, Robot, I Am Legend and Hancock, and Smith also made a cameo in Goldsman’s box office flop Winter’s Tale. Smith recently starred in Aladdin and will soon be seen in dual roles in Ang Lee‘s sci-fi action movie Gemini Man. The two-time Oscar nominee also stars opposite Martin Lawrence in Bad Boys for Life, which just dropped its first trailer earlier this week. He’s represented by CAA
As for Sakey, his Amazon-published book series, including the sequels A Better World and Written in Fire, has sold nearly 2 million copies. He’s repped by Salerno. Deadline broke the news.