Will Smith Snags Lead Role In Sci-Fi Thriller Brilliance

Will Smith

Though he won’t be reprising his iconic role as Captain Steve Hiller in Roland Emmerich’s upcoming two-part sequel to Independence Day, Will Smith certainly isn’t finished with the science-fiction genre altogether. Today, we’re hearing that the A-lister is in final negotiations with Legendary Pictures and Universal Pictures to star in a potential sci-fi summer tentpole called Brilliance.

Based on the book of the same name by Marcus Sakey, which became a hot property when it hit shelves last August, Brilliance takes place in a world where one percent of the population are born with heightened cognitive abilities and called ‘brilliants.’ Smith will star as Nick Cooper, a federal agent who uses his special abilities to catch the world’s most dangerous terrorists. When Cooper gets on the trail of his most dangerous target yet, a violent brilliant who is intent on igniting a civil war, he finds himself thrown into moral turpitude and contemplates going against everything he believes in, including his own kind.

Sakey’s book is the first of a planned trilogy, so it’s not too difficult to see that Legendary and Universal are eying a franchise. Though the story sounds somewhat familiar, Smith excels in sci-fi fare like this (let’s just forget After Earth, shall we?), and fresh talent Julius Onah (short The BoundaryThe Girl Is in Trouble) is attached to direct, both strong indicators that Brilliance could be one to watch. Additionally, prolific action screenwriter David Koepp (Mission: ImpossibleJack Ryan: Shadow Recruit) is set to scribe.

Smith needs a hit pretty badly after After Earth‘s terrible earnings and worse reviews, and with only this and con-artist comedy Focus on his schedule, the notoriously picky actor must have seen something he liked in Brilliance. It will probably be a while until we see the film hit theaters, but I’m already intrigued by its set-up.

Check out the official novel synopsis below and let us know in the comments section, are you interested in Brilliance?

In Wyoming, a little girl reads people’s darkest secrets by the way they fold their arms. In New York, a man sensing patterns in the stock market racks up $300 billion. In Chicago, a woman can go invisible by being where no one is looking. They’re called “brilliants,” and since 1980, one percent of people have been born this way. Nick Cooper is among them; a federal agent, Cooper has gifts rendering him exceptional at hunting terrorists. His latest target may be the most dangerous man alive, a brilliant drenched in blood and intent on provoking civil war. But to catch him, Cooper will have to violate everything he believes in—and betray his own kind.

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