Toplined by Hugh Jackman and The Social Network‘s Rooney Mara, it appeared as though Disney and Joe Wright’s upcoming Pan movie would mark the beginning of a one-two punch for the acting pair, given that both were signed on to star in Collateral Beauty, the latest from Me and Earl and the Dying Girl director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon.
Alas, due to the longstanding commitment to his beloved mutant Wolverine across the X-Men films – a role he’ll reprise one final time for James Mangold’s The Wolverine 3 – Jackman was forced to pull out of Collateral Beauty, which led the studio to cast the net in search of a new male lead. And though Johnny Deep had been considered at one point, Deadline brings word that Gomez-Rejon has targeted Suicide Squad‘s Will Smith as the replacement.
Supplanting Jackson as the protagonist, it’s understood Smith will now play the role of a New York advertising executive who, in the aftermath of a personal tragedy, spirals into depression. Despite an affiliation with effects-laden blockbusters, the actor has long displayed his versatility in roles such as Seven Pounds and, in particular, The Pursuit of Happyness.
In fact, Smith produced a raw, deeply emotional turn in the latter 2006 feature film, and we’re hoping that Collateral Beauty will serve up a meaty role for the actor in time for next year. Opposite him is the aforementioned Rooney Mara, while Jason Segel has also been tipped for a supporting role in the Allan Loeb-scribed pic.
Deadline reports that principal photography will get underway for Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s Collateral Beauty in October ahead of a planned release in 2016.