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It’s hard to feel sorry for any film that can replace a departing Hugh Jackman with Will Smith. But that’s the predicament that those overseeing Collateral Beauty have found themselves in after the Australian actor had to drop out of the much talked about drama. Rather than having to go out onto the street, clasping onto ordinary citizens and asking them to replace Wolverine, they instead simply asked Will Smith. Who, fortunately, said yes.

Deadline was the first to report that Will Smith will be replacing Hugh Jackman in Collateral Beauty. This drama will now see the Focus star playing a New York advertising executive who suffers a deep, personal tragedy. Noticing just how depressed and traumatized he has been by this incident, which tantalizingly we still know very little about, Smith’s character’s colleagues decide to break him out of it with a rather unconventional plan. Which, just as tantalizingly, we don’t know anything about either.

Currently, Rooney Mara is still along for the ride, and it’s hard to believe Will Smith’s addition to the cast in place of Hugh Jackman will stop her participation. That’s unless she’s got a problem with Big Willie Style or Willennium. It’s not known if Jason Segel, who was also previously attached, is still involved though.

Hugh Jackman originally left the project last month, with a scheduling conflict being labelled as the reason why he’d been forced to depart. Jackman had already promised his body for the good folks over at 20th Century Fox, where he is filming the latest Wolverine film. This meant that there would be no way he could find time to shoot Collateral Beauty as well.

It was originally speculated that Johnny Depp would replace Jackman in the role. However it was added at that time that Depp and PalmStar Media had a long way to go before the Pirates Of The Caribbean actor actually signed on the dotted line. Clearly, at some point in this juncture, Depp and PalmStar Media found themselves at an impasse and now Will Smith has stepped into the void.

Smith has most recently been working on Warner Bros./DC’s Suicide Squad, in which he’s playing Deadshot, and on Christmas Day we’ll get to see him in Concussion, a drama about how the National Football League have denied the life-long effects on head injuries on NFL players.

There’s been quite a lot of attention on Collateral Beauty ever since PalmStar Media and Likely Story decided to pay the sum of $2.25 million for Allan Loeb’s script. Obviously, after this amount of money was spent on its screenplay the project found itself immediately being touted as festival fodder.

This chatter increased even further when Alfonso Gomez-Rejon signed up to direct. Gomez-Rejon at first wowed Sundance and then impressed Hollywood with Me And Early And The Dying Girl, the romantic, comedy, drama that hit cinemas earlier this summer. And despite Jackman’s departure, Will Smith’s presence means that there will still be plenty of interest in Collateral Beauty, when it finally is released probably at some point next year.

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