Will Smith will produce and could star in Brilliance, the narrative feature directorial debut of filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy. The Oscar-winning director of documentary shorts Saving Face and A Girl in the River, who most recently helmed two episodes of the Marvel Studios series Ms. Marvel on Disney+, has signed onto the adaptation of author Marcus Sakey's novel for Paramount Pictures. According to Deadline, which first reported the news, Smith isn't committed to star in what would be his first production for Paramount since 2019's Ang Lee-directed Gemini Man. The project has been in development since 2014.
Brilliance is described as a passion project for Smith and Academy Award-winning writer/producer Akiva Goldsman, who scripted Smith vehicles I, Robot, I Am Legend, and Hancock. Obaid-Chinoy's film would be Smith's first project to go into production since the King Richard Best Actor winner slapped Chris Rock on stage at this year's Oscars, resulting in a decade-long ban from the Academy.
Deadline describes Brilliance: "If 1% of the world's children were born with powerful gifts, how would society adapt to them? The Brilliance novel trilogy is set in a future where non-neurotypical people — demonized by society as 'twists' or 'abnorms' — are threatening the status quo of the 'normal' population with their unique gifts. They are officially labeled as 'Brilliants' and are carefully tracked by the government."
Should Smith sign on to star, he would play Department of Analysis and Response Agent Nick Cooper, tasked with tracking down and terminate criminal abnorms who use their powers for ill, according to Deadline. "The agent is himself an abnorm, with a gift for predictive analysis that allows him to see what will happen before it happens and react preemptively. He is also the father of a Brilliant daughter.
"As he infiltrates a radical group of Brilliants who plan to incite a civil war, he uses his own gifts against his Brilliant enemies, like an assassin who perceives time faster than his opponents. When Cooper is ordered to hunt down John Smith — the country's most elusive and most dangerous abnorm — everything Cooper believes in will be called into question. As one of the abnorms he's hunting tells him, 'You can't stop the future. All you can do is pick a side.'"
Smith next stars as a runaway slave in Apple TV+ thriller Emancipation from Antoine Fuqua, which finished production before Smith's infamous Oscars incident. Apple will reportedly release that film in December or early 2023. It was previously reported the Chris Rock smack jeopardized a planned biopic about the mega-star actor and rapper; in April, Netflix backed away from Fast and Loose, a Smith-led crime-drama that would have reunited him with the Bright streamer.0comments