An Endlessly Busy Will Smith Returns to Sci-Fi With Brilliance...Again

Smith at the Warner Bros. Pictures’ Focus premiere at TCL Chinese Theatre on February 24, 2015; cover art for Brilliance.
Photo: Jason Merritt / Staff (Getty Images), Image: Thomas & Mercer

Does Will Smith ever stop? Apparently not, because while we’re still waiting for him to literally face himself in Gemini Man or not show up in The Suicide Squad, he’s already got his eyes on another new project: an adaptation of the 2013 novel Brilliance. Stop us if you’ve heard this before, because, err...you have.

The Hollywood Reporter has word that Smith will both star in and produce the adaptation of the first in Marcus Sakey’s trilogy of novels, working in tandem with longtime collaborator Akiva Goldsman. Except, it’s not the first time that Smith has tried to get an adaptation of the series off the ground. Back in 2014, alongside director Julius Onah and screenwriter David Koepp, a potential adaptation of the novel was in the works at Universal and Legendary. According to THR, however, this new attempt with Goldsman is still in its early stages; it’s currently unattached to a studio and will presumably be working off a new script.

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What’s not changed is that Smith will also star in the project. Set in a world where, since the ‘80s, a single percentage point of the Earth’s population has been born with special powers—dubbed Brilliants—Brilliance follows Nick Cooper, who would be played by Smith in this potential adaptation. A Brilliant himself, with the power to read body language so acutely he can predict people’s next moves, Cooper is also a federal agent tasked with policing the Brilliant population when usual law enforcement can’t.

Whether or not this version of the project will pan out this time remains to be seen, of course. But hey, if it does, it’s another genre cop Smith can add to his weirdly layered list of genre cop roles.


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James Whitbrook

James is a News Editor at io9. He wants pictures. Pictures of Spider-Man!