Remember the movie Hancock? It’s a Will Smith action flick from 2008 that for whatever reason, is largely forgotten not just in his filmography, but the superhero genre as whole. It’s especially curious as to why no one talks about it considering the movie was a huge hit at the box office ($624 million worldwide) and has a lot of talent involved including Charlize Theron, Jason Bateman and director Peter Berg.
No sequel ever materialized, but Theron has now said she’s down to return to that world if they ever decide to make another one. While promoting her new Netflix film The Old Guard, she talked about playing another immortal until the conversation shifted to a possible Hancock sequel, with the actress saying:
“You know, for a while we [talked about a sequel],” Theron says. “I think closer to when the movie came out, but not in recent years, no. We’ll be superheroes with our walkers, you know. And I’ll still go! I’ll still make that movie, I would do it in a heartbeat.”
The year 2008 is an especially important year in terms of the superhero genre because it gave us both Iron Man and The Dark Knight. Two seminal films that helped shape the next decade of blockbusters. But Hancock just didn’t leave a lasting impression.
The tonal shifts are a bit jarring and Smith’s performance, while darker than usual, is devoid of his typical charm. Perhaps it was too ahead of its time in terms of exploring the ramifications of a superhero existing in the real world.
The script for Hancock, originally titled Tonight, He Comes, had floated around Hollywood for a decade before finally getting the green light. Many directors were attached as well, including Jonathan Mostow, Michael Mann and Tony Scott.
And the film went through many rewrites, too. It was originally much darker, but Sony Pictures wanted to make it a summer release and so it was toned down for a PG-13 rating. Vince Gilligan (of Breaking Bad fame) is credited as one of the screenwriters and you can tell that a lot was left on the cutting room floor.
Theron clearly loves making action movies though and Hancock certainly set up a lot of mythology surrounding her character and its world. Of all of Smith’s films, this would seem like the most logical pick for a sequel and with the recent success of Bad Boys for Life, perhaps it might happen.