It seems Will Smith is getting jiggy with it, cinematically speaking. Though he’s a major box office star, the Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air is super choosy and generally averages about one movie per year. But it looks like he’s ready to get much busier. Earlier this week he replaced Ben Affleck on Warner Bros. con man romantic comedy “Focus,” and now two more projects are dropping into his lap.
The first one has actually been around for a while. Entitled “The American Can,” way back in 2009 “The Blind Side” director John Lee Hancock signed up to direct (he co-wrote the script too, but he has since moved on) with Smith to star. Two years later, Smith was going to produce the movie instead, and was eager to get Denzel Washington for the lead role. Now, two more years on, the actor is back in the starring role and has Ed Zwick (“Love And Other Drugs,” “The Blood Diamond“) now set to direct him. So what is it about this project that has kept Smith hanging on?
The film is based on the true story of John Keller, an ex-Marine who, along with residents of the American Can apartment complex, ward off looters and try to find help after the levees break in the wake of the devastating Hurricane Katrina. Keller did manage to eventually get help two days later, saving the lives of dozens of sick and elderly residents of the building, and his tale was chronicled in the documentary “New Orleans: My Home, My Life, My Love.” So in short: Will Smith rescuing people from a brutal natural disaster. Oscar bait for sure, but also a pretty fascinating story.
According to Deadline, he wants to make this one after “Focus,” but as always, Smith-caliber actors like to have options, and he’s also taking a look at the 2011 Black List script “The Accountant.” Penned by Bill Dubuque (Robert Downey Jr.‘s forthcoming “The Judge“), it tells the story of a brilliant, autistic accountant at the Treasury Department who doubles as an assassin. As if working at the Treasury Department was difficult enough… The project was once set up at Warner Bros. with Mel Gibson attached to direct (damn) but now it’s moving to Sony with financing from Media Rights Capital. We’ll see if Smith signs on the line or keeps this brewing for a while first.