In theory, Will Smith is still one of the biggest movie stars on the planet, but it’s been over five years since “I am Legend” and we’re still awaiting a proper of how test of his star power has fared since then. Granted he did return last summer after a four-year gap with “Men In Black 3,” which performed well, but that was always his biggest franchise and a sub-two hundred million domestic gross for an expensive franchise movie isn’t blowing anyone away. The end of this month should see a more significant test when “After Earth” hits theaters, although even that sees him playing second fiddle to son Jaden Smith.
The good news is that Smith seems to be mixing it up a bit more instead of just sticking to the kind of FX-packed blockbuster he’s used to: he’s got a small character role in “Winter’s Tale” and he’s attached to the drama “An American Can“ and rom-com “Focus,” But he hasn’t gone fully low-key, as it has now emerged that he’s keeping a toe in the big action arena with a remake of a solid-gold classic. The Wrap revealed that the actor is in talks to star and produce in a remake of Sam Peckinpah‘s classic Western “The Wild Bunch.”
The violent 1969 film, about a creaky gang of outlaws looking to pull one last border heist as the Old West comes to an end, has been in development as a remake for years, with the late Tony Scott being the last director attached, working from a script from his “Man On Fire” writer Brian Helgeland. Apparently Helgeland only wrote half the screenplay before Scott passed, and so the search is on for a new writer (and presumably a director too.)
The idea is that Smith would play the lead, a disgraced DEA agent who puts together a team to rip off a Mexican drug lord. We’re pleased to see him preparing to go gunslinging for the first time since the bonkers “Bad Boys II” (even if we’re not sure that the film really needs that ‘Wild Bunch’ name) That said, this project has been through multiple incarnations, so don’t bank on it moving swiftly forward any time soon. You can see Smith in “After Earth” when it opens on May 31st.