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Will Smith Is Replacing Hugh Jackman to Star Alongside Rooney Mara in ‘Collateral Beauty’

Will Smith Is Replacing Hugh Jackman to Star Alongside Rooney Mara in 'Collateral Beauty'

Will Smith is in talks to star alongside Rooney Mara in the independently-financed drama “Collateral Beauty,” from the director of the indie hit “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl,” Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, and writer Allan Loeb.

Should a deal be reached, Mr Smith, who will be replacing an exiting Hugh Jackman (who was previously set to star) will star as a New York advertising executive who suffers a personal tragedy, as his business colleagues work to break him out of his depression using an unconventional plan, which, until more is revealed about the film, we know nothing about. I’m thinking of films like David Fincher’s “The Game.”

Also no word on what Rooney Mara’s role is in the project; a romantic interest, perhaps? Maybe she’s the “collateral beauty”?

Will Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment will co-produce the project alongside Anonymous Content, PalmStar and Likely Story.

Shooting is slated to start in the fall.

It’s rare for Will Smith to star in *smaller* indie flicks, by relatively new directors with a Sundance Film Festival hit or two on their resume. So this is a noteworthy move on his part. We’ve gotten comfortable with him as Mr. Summer Blockbuster, but, as he said last year, he’s turning over a new leaf, with plans to start making films more for himself, and not being concerned with what others expected of him. And he’s now apparently shedding some of that shiny Hollywood *armor* and going for less showy, and, I assume, a more very specifically character-driven drama. 

Up next for Smith, he’ll be seen in Sony Picture’s football drama “Concussion,” in December, followed by the big screen adaptation the comic book “Suicide Squad” next year.

Deadline was first to report on the news of Will Smith’s interest in “Collateral Beauty.”

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