When was the last time Will Smith played a supporting character in any movie? Certainly not very recently. I think The Legend Of Bagger Vance was probably the last time, in the year 2000. Although he WAS Bagger Vance, the title character; but it was one of those good ol' magical Negro tales, there in service of the white lead.
He'll be doing that again (playing a supporting role) in Oscar-winning screenwriter Akiva Goldsman's directorial debut, which he's been trying to get made for a number of years unsuccessfully.
Titled Winter's Tale, and based on a novel of the same name by Mark Helprin, Goldman's project is finally now able to move forward thanks in part to Will Smith's and Russell Crowe's decisions to play peripheral characters in the film.
Vulture states that Goldsman "called in every favor he had" having penned scripts for both Smith and Crowe on prior films, and thankfully, they agreed to appear in Winter's Tale – a project described as being within the realm of magical-reaslism, set in both 19th century and present-day New York City.
The story centers on…
… a petty thief who falls in love with the dying girl who inhabits the house he’s just burgled and the gangster boss bent on killing him.
Will Smith will reportedly play a judge, and Crowe the gangster boss.
The lead roles of the thief and the girl he falls in love with haven't been cast yet, though shooting could begin as early as this fall, with those 2 titans (Smith and Crowe) now attached.