It may have taken FAR too long, but Will Smith is finally poised to work with an Oscar-winning director, as he and Ang Lee are in negotiations to team up on Skydance’s high-concept action-thriller GEMINI MAN, the Tracking Board has confirmed.
Jerry Bruckheimer is producing the movie, which follows an aging assassin who finds himself battling his own clone, who is much younger, faster and stronger.
Gemini Man has bounced around Hollywood for the past 20 years, originally getting set up at Disney with Tony Scott directing and Don Murphy (Transformers) producing a pitch by Darren Lemke. The project was considered a lost cause because visual effects technology was not developed enough at the time, but now it has, and no one loves a VFX challenge more than Lee.
Lee won an Oscar for directing the VFX extravaganza Life of Pi, but he’s coming off the visually-ambitious box office flop Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, so a commercial movie starring Will Smith could be just what he needs.
Over the years, everyone from Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson and Clint Eastwood have flirted with the role of the aging assassin. The project gained new life when Skydance picked it up last October with the goal of attaching an A-list star. While Smith’s deal isn’t done, it’s a good bet to close. The only other project that he’s negotiating for (that we know about) is Guy Ritchie’s live-action Aladdin movie at Disney, which is courting Smith to play the Genie.
Smith has worked with two Oscar-winning filmmakers — director Robert Redford on The Legend of Bagger Vance back in 2000, and screenwriter Akiva Goldsman on Winter’s Tale. He has been criticized over the years by several industry observers for largely choosing to work with middlebrow directors who won’t challenge his authority on set as opposed to headstrong auteurs. It’s also worth noting that Smith has only worked with one female director in his entire career — Vicky Jenson, who co-directed the 2004 animated movie Shark Tale.
Jeff Sneider | Editor in Chief