After watching After Earth and Winter’s Tale, one would be perfectly sane in thinking that Will Smith was comfortable joining any film that came his way. And yet, he’s recently turned down as many movies as he’s been attached to, and he just dropped out of Legendary’s promising thriller Brilliance, which he’d only officially gotten jiggy with fairly recently.
Both parties separated amicably, and the decision came down to timing. Smith’s upcoming schedule conflicted with Brilliance‘s production start, which had been moved around a few times since the studio acquired the material last year. You’d have thought someone would have had the foresight to realize this when Smith joined Prometheus actress Noomi Rapace in signing on to the superpowered tale a few weeks ago. A nice “Hey, I’ll be busy in a few months,” would have been fine.
Brilliance is based on Marcus Sakey’s 2013 novel of the same name, and imagines a somewhat derivative world where 1% of the population, dubbed Brilliants, are born with special powers. One guy understands stock market patterns. One woman can be invisible. And so on. Federal agent and fellow Brilliant Nick Cooper is hunting down one of the most dangerous men in the world, who is intent on bringing a civil war back to this country. Cooper has to do anything and everything possible to take the guy down. It’s unclear exactly how close screenwriter David Koepp (Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit) stuck to the novel when writing his script, but you can be sure some visual wizardry will go into it.
Now that Smith is gone, Legendary and director Julius Onah can look to the billion other leading men who could potentially make this film a success. Sakey is releasing the “Brilliance saga” sequel A Better World in June, so it’s possible we’re in for a film trilogy here if it turns into a success. And given that its description sounds like a dozen other stories, it’s already got a huge built-in market of fans and detractors. So here’s hoping they bring somebody more credible to the project.
Not that Smith isn’t credible at times. But one of the most enjoyable things he’s done in the past decade was get mystified by the super powers of magician David Blaine.
Smith has been vocally against coming back to reprise fan-favorite roles in Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin’s upcoming Independence Day 2 and Columbia Pictures’ Men in Black 4, and it doesn’t seem like Hancock 2 or Bad Boys 3 will ever exist. The actor will be seen next February in Glenn Ficarra and John Requa’s romantic comedy Focus, and he’s also attached to D.J. Caruso’s thriller Selling Time.