Will Smith Signs On For Netflix Biopic

Gemini Man Will Smith standing outside, banged up, and listening

Ladies and gentlemen, Will Smith and Netflix are back in business a lot sooner than we thought. While the Bright actor’s busy schedule seems to have indefinitely delayed the sequel to his big hit for the streaming service, it looks like the two partners have found another project to heap onto his already busy pile.

This time out, it’s a dramatic biopic entitled The Council, which sees Smith playing Nicky Barnes, a real-life kingpin that bridged the relationship between the Italian mafia and the titular African-American mob in ’70s Harlem. In his role as a member of organized crime, Barnes earned himself the memorable nickname, Mr. Untouchable, which was eventually debunked by an arrest in 1978.

Continuing this partnership is a wise move on both sides. While Netflix can always use quality originals starring marquee talent, and Will Smith returning to drama always turns heads, no matter the result, The Council feels like a very on brand decision for all involved. Plus, this reteaming just might lead to Smith’s schedule opening up for that promised, if not troubled, Bright sequel in the near future; so there’s always that possibility to look out for.

The Council is another reunion of sorts, as THR also reported that this dramatic biopic is written by Peter Landesman. Landesman is also known as the writer/director who was also behind a previous entry in Will Smith’s resume, the NFL medical drama Concussion. With no director specified for this film yet, it wouldn’t be all that surprising if he pulled double duty to bring this new story to cinematic life, but there looks to be plenty of time for that position to be filled.

Strangely enough, this isn’t the only big biopic that Smith has in the works at this time. He’s also working on King Richard, the story of Venus and Serena Williams’ father, Richard Williams, and his tireless efforts to push his daughters in the world of tennis. As that film is set for a Thanksgiving bow next year, it would be assumed that this particular project would be in Will Smith’s immediate future, with The Council picking up once that has completed.

It’s still early days for The Council, but already the project feels like something that reflects Smith’s streak of roles that see him coming back to the table in full force, as well as Netflix’s aspirations to become an awards season powerhouse. Depending on how fast things develop with this project, and whether or not King Richard sticks to its plans to be out next Thanksgiving, we could see Will Smith competing with himself for an Oscar in 2021.

You can see Will Smith in theaters again pretty soon, with Gemini Man opening on October 11, and Bad Boys For Life finally hitting theaters on January 17, 2020.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

Mike Reyes is the Senior Movie Contributor at CinemaBlend, though that title’s more of a guideline really. Passionate about entertainment since grade school, the movies have always held a special place in his life, which explains his current occupation. Mike graduated from Drew University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, but swore off of running for public office a long time ago. Mike's expertise ranges from James Bond to everything Alita, making for a brilliantly eclectic resume. He fights for the user.