Coupled with Wednesday’s (non-franchise) signing and, today, news that we can Raige-out one week early, it’s safe to say that Will Smith is back on the old acting horse. It’s amidst this chance to reintroduce an affable public image a bit more strongly — also atone for Men in Black 3, if you ask me — that word on a couple of more pending deals have arrived; better that, as a snob would put it, they sound like “real movies.”
Deadline have the news, first informing us he’s looking to expand participation on the Katrina-set drama American Can, something he’s long been attached to produce and, in June of 2011, was attempting to make Denzel Washington the star of. After fading out in the time since, it’s back on the radar, possibly because Smith saw it as a good acting opportunity — a fair guess with all this recent activity, at least — and, to boot, offers a chance to work with Ed Zwick. One can see that latter signing: the Blood Diamond helmer’s been circling a few projects since Love and Other Drugs hit in late 2010, in that time since losing a big-scale tentpole which had been under development — so, consider this a good, small-scale way to get back into the groove.
Scripted by The Blind Side / Saving Mr. Banks director John Lee Hancock and Adetoro Makinde — once meant as a job for the former, too — the story of Gulf War veteran John Keller‘s 240-person-plus rescue has the sort of inspirational angle that Zwick and Smith, by this point, pretty much “know.” And, really, the combination might be about as good as American Can should attempt.
You can quickly notice that this second title is of a different flavor, once getting past Mike Fleming‘s petulant whining about who gives him stories. Titled The Accountant, it stands as a chance for Smith to go a bit darker than usual: as scripted by Bill Dubuque (the upcoming Robert Downey Jr.-starrer The Judge), the story revolves around an autistic man who acts as a government… accountant by day, assassin by night. It was once meant to pair the actor with director Mel Gibson, but Riggs has been on the outs these past few years, as you surely know.
Do either projects sound like a proper step for Smith? What kind of films would you like to see him handle?
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