Is Will Smith Finally Getting Back To Being A Movie Star With Colossus?
Will Smith remains one of the world's biggest movie stars, but that's largely more in theory than in practice. Last year's Men in Black 3 was Smith's first film in four years, and it made more than $600 million globally-- barely more than the original Men in Black all the way back in 1997, actually, but not half bad for a guy who seemed more interested in building careers for his kids than starring in movies himself.
This year Smith will be doing both, starring opposite his son Jaden in the M. Night Shyamalan-directed After Earth, which comes to theaters on June 7. Figuring out what happens after that is a matter of digging through a lot of in-development projects and wondering which one will stick. He's definitely set for what's described as a cameo in Winter's Tale, a passion project from writer-turned director Akiva Goldsman, who wrote I Am Legend for Smith. Beyond that, the only project he's attached to that has any forward momentum is the Annie remake, which recently cast Oscar-nominee Quvenzhane Wallis and set a Christmas 2014 release. Unless he pops up as Daddy Warbucks, though-- an entirely possible idea, actually-- Smith will only be involved as a producer. After Earth remains his only plan to put those movie star muscles to work.
It's hard to know if THR's recent news about a new writer for Colossus will change that or not. They report that Ed Solomon, who wrote the original Men in Black for Smith, has been brought on to rewrite the script, which has been in development at Universal since 2007, when Ron Howard planned to direct it. There's no mention of Howard in the latest report beyond as a producer, but Smith remains interested in starring as Dr. Charles Forbin, who creates a computer that takes over the world and is then charged with destroying it. The film would be a remake of 1970's Colossus: The Forbin Project, which is pretty much overshadowed in the history of "evil computer takeover movies" by Kubrick's 2001.
A new writer getting hired for a project is no sign it will ever go into production-- Colossus has already had two, after all, and it's beyond common for studios to hire multiple writers on a film that never, ever gets made. But the fact that Solomon is on board suggests Smith put him there-- he's never hesitated to take major creative control on projects, contributing significantly to the chaos on the production of Men In Black 3 by hiring a new screenwriter personally. So Smith is at least somewhat invested in Colossus, making it the only project he plans to act in that he's actively working on (sorry, I Am Legend 2). But we'll probably have to wait to see what happens with After Earth to know Smith's actual movie stardom plans-- and even then, he'll probably keep us guessing. When you can be a huge star without even consistently making movies, you have the option of making everyone wait.
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