Maybe Will Smith’s been reading S&A – specifically, Adam’s piece on Will’s “strategic aversion to controversial roles.”
Ok, maybe not. But I had to say it.
Check out this quote from Will, lifted from an interview he gave to Digital Spy, while doing press for After Earth in the UK recently:
“There’s something about making movies that just really gets me excited… I love people being wrapped in a story and being able to deliver that emotional punchline at the end. It’s been an absolute necessity that the movie be a blockbuster, but I think I’m going to start moving out of that and finding more danger in my artistic choices.”
And more danger in his artistic choices is something we here at S&A have been hoping for, for some time. I remember when it was announced that he was Quentin Tarantino’s first choice to play Django, and all the discussion that followed about whether Will was *courageous* enough to take on a controversial project like that.
Although I should note that he has since revealed what his reasons were for not taking the part, and they had nothing to do with fear of controversy, which I thought was a good sign of things to come.
So, here we are. Will Smith is ready to make the shift from primarily family-friendly action adventure fare, to more “dangerous” roles and projects, as he put it in the above quote.
Although, looking at his upcoming slate of projects, I can’t say there’s anything on it that I would consider “dangerous.” There certainly could be a project or two being packaged right now that has yet to be announced.
I suppose the reported vampiric twist on the Cain & Abel story from the bible, The Redemption of Cain, could be controversial, if only because it’s based on a story from the bible. The vampiric twist, if it turns out to be true, might be considered sacrilege by some.
There’s also a thriller called The Accountant, which follows a government accountant who doubles as an assassin. At one time, when it was at Warner Bros, the Coen brothers were being considered to direct. But the project now sits at Media Rights Capital, with Sony attached to finance and distribute. I don’t know a lot about the project, other than what I just said, but if the Coen brothers were ever interested in it, I’d say it’s probably as close to “dangerous” as Will has ever gotten. But I’d need to know more.
There is the film adaptation of Flowers for Algernon, a science fiction story written by Daniel Keyes.
Although it’s not clear if he plans to star in it, or just produce (IMDBPro only lists him as producer currently). It’s a project that was first announced in 2009, so it’s been a while.
The novel was published in 1966 and was joint winner of that year’s prestigious Nebula Award for Best Novel.
The titular Algernon is a laboratory mouse that has undergone surgery to increase its intelligence by artificial means. The story is told as a series of progress reports written by Charlie, the first human test subject for the surgery, and touches upon many different ethical and moral themes such as the treatment of the mentally disabled.
Essentially, a man surgically accelerates his own IQ levels, based on his mouse research, ultimately making himself a genius, but then becomes a social outcast for that reason; and unfortunately, what he didn’t count on was that Algernon, the mouse he used in his research, would eventually experience significant decelerated IQ levels, a result of the experiment, as he himself experiences the same mental deterioration.
Interesting enough, although maybe not necessarily “dangerous.”
Flowers for Algernon has been adapted several times since it was originally published, most famously Ralph Nelson’s Charly, which won Cliff Robertson (the star) an Academy Award in 1969. And I’m sure Will would eventually like to have his own Oscar as well.
The rest of his upcoming slate comprises of mostly sequels – I, Robot, Hancock, After Earth, etc. There’s even talk of a Men In Black 4, which I pray doesn’t happen.