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In 2016, superstar Will Smith has yet another potential blockbuster due with the arrival of Suicide Squad in theaters. In the meantime, the star has been in preparation for another film that has to keep weathering setbacks, even with the actor attached and filming was supposed to begin next month.
Variety reports that the Will Smith vehicle Collateral Beauty has hit another snag, as director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon has left the film. Gomez-Rejon came to feel that the movie he was being asked to make was, in fact, not the type of film he had signed up for.
Gomez-Rejon has had a breakout year. His film Me and Earl and the Dying Girl premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January and went on to win the fest’s Grand Jury Prize, as well as the Audience Award. With consistently good reviews, which include an 89 percent audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, it went on to win 10 awards while going around this year’s festival circuit.
The director is also set to helm The Current War, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Jake Gyllenhaal, for The Weinstein Company, and A Foreigner for Paramount. It makes sense, then, that he’d know when a project wasn’t taking the path that was promised to him. It also makes sense that he would bow out when he saw what was happening instead of sticking around to fight a battle he might not win. Two future jobs are more than enough for any director to fall back on.
Collateral Beauty centers on a depressed ad executive whose collegues hatch a plan to break him out of his poor mental state, but plans don’t go as expected. The film has already gone through its share of ups and downs. Hugh Jackman and Rooney Mara were once attached as leads, with Jackman pulling out in July due to scheduling conflicts with his next Wolverine project. While actors and directors drifting into and out of the orbit of movies is certainly not unusual or anything new, when it happens so close to filming it makes people start to wonder if the movie will ever actually get off the ground. And, once it does, if it will end up being worth all the apparent trouble it took to get made.
Should Suicide Squad hit big next year for critics and audiences, it would be Will Smith’s first bona fide hit in quite a while. Whereas he was once surefire box office gold (or, really, platinum), he’s recently done what all megastars do at some point: lost some momentum and started to fall a little bit. This doesn’t mean that he’ll never hit it big again at theaters. Certainly his decision to take on more indie-flavored fare in recent years has led to his money making decline, but there’s no reason to think Smith has hit the end of his movie star road.
One of the smartest things a star like Will Smith can do when they’re looking to get back on top is to take a big role in a movie they don’t have to carry solely on their own famous shoulders. If Suicide Squad is a critical and commercial flop, no one can blame Smith for all the movie’s failings, unlike, say, After Earth. With a full ensemble of crazy characters around him and some strong actors to bolster every action-packed moment, his Deadshot won’t be the only one that people talk about. If Smith is lucky, Collateral Beauty will get its stuff together and help his star continue to rise again. Because, really, that’s what we all want to see.
We'll next see Smith on screen when the NFL head trauma drama Concussion opens later this year.