Will Smith

Independence Day White House

Will Smith isn’t going to star in the promised/threatened Independence Day sequel. If we’re all being honest, that’s not really a big deal except to Hollywood accountants still using actuarial tables from 2008 — he was hardly the only lifeline in the 1996 alien invasion flick, and a cigar-chomping cameo might be more exciting than seeing him monopolize the plot. The bigger question is why we need a sequel to it in the first place, but not in the typical insta-response way that decades-later sequels (and remakes) typically provoke. After all, you could look at Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and think, “Fine, there’s something new to say about greed in a post-Goldman Sachs era.” For ID Forever Part One (Part one!), it’s an exhausting prospect that we’ve got to fight the aliens again and save the planet again and escape that flaming traffic tunnel with the Labrador again. I hope you’ve all been training.

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Bad Boys team

This week, the long-rumored production of Bad Boys 3 moved forward at Sony Pictures under the new leadership of co-president Michael De Luca, whose mandate has been to bring Sony back to higher quality tentpole films. What better way to get back to big action tentpoles than to go back to the franchise that delivered $273 million at the box office 10 years ago? Somewhere, the characters of Edgar Wright’s Hot Fuzz are excited, as is yours truly. But while the in-talks status of Safe House writer David Guggenheim on the project certainly is news in the right direction, many questions still remain. The biggest of which revolves not just around the franchise’s two leading men, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, but about the two men behind the camera who built the world around two volatile Miami narcotics cops: Michael Bay and Jerry Bruckheimer.

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A Will Smith movie is a peculiar thing- peculiar in that it’s all but guaranteed to make dump trucks full of money, no matter what the movie actually is. Put Smith in the starring role, people see it- well, except for After Earth, but let’s not forget M. Night Shymalan’s equally potent anti-box office powers. Part of this, of course, is due to Smith’s choices as an actor; the vast majority of his filmography is made up of Hollywood dramas and gigantic action movies. Selling Time seems like one more drop in the “sure to make a bajillion dollars” bucket. The story involves a man (and it’s an incredibly safe bet to assume that man is Will Smith) who’s given the opportunity to shave seven years off his life expectancy for a science fiction do-over on the absolute worst day of his life. The Wrap reports that the film (billed as a “supernatural thriller”) was actually close to being Will Smith-ified several years ago, but plans fell through due to scheduling conflicts. Now that Smith has, apparently, a more open schedule (and a desire to right the horrific wrong that was After Earth), Selling Time has gotten a green light once again. The project doesn’t have a director yet, but with Smith’s involvement, multiple big names are now said to be circling the movie. As long as none of them are M. Night Shyamalan, Smith should be just fine.

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ID4 Will Smith

Welcome to Earth. According to an interview with New York Daily News, director Roland Emmerich explained that Will Smith would not be returning for the Independence Day sequel (due out in 2015) because he simply costs too much. “Will Smith can not come back because he’s too expensive, but he’d also be too much of a marquee name,” the filmmaker said. This is after a lackluster showing with After Earth and a new reliance on global recognition for the star (MIB 3’s gross box office was 71% foreign). Of course, that’s not to say that Smith has to lift a finger for the next million years in order to live comfortably, and even though it was the movie that launched him, it makes sense that he wouldn’t want to return for ID4 Forever Part 1 (which is really what it’s being called for some reason). Mostly because the title is stupid. Partially because he already has a ton on his plate (including a directorial debut in the works).

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Will Smith After Earth

We are living in a post-movie star era, but Will Smith was the last one to find out. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air-turned-21st-century box office king has enjoyed his time as perhaps the sole exception to the many articles that have discussed at length the death of the traditional movie star (including ones written here). Smith’s magnetic charm, family-friendly aura, and conventional good looks (coupled, more importantly, with an incredibly calculated, decidedly un-risky series of career decisions) made him a star with mass audience appeal – an increasingly rare commodity as studio films geared more and more toward dedicated niche audiences. But Smith’s anachronistic career (even with two Academy Award nominations and 11 blockbusters under his belt in almost as many years) was growing ever more conspicuous even before his four-year absence from the silver screen. He came back with the serviceable (read: unremarkable) MIB3. However, it was this summer’s After Earth (whose opening weekend gross was $100K shy of, erm, Wild Wild West) that solidified the fact that even Hollywood’s “biggest star” no longer provided a guarantee that anybody would show up. Six months ago, Scott Beggs and I argued that 2012 signaled, with certainty, the death of the movie star. If the movie star died in 2012, then 2013 is most certainly its wake.

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After Earth

Will Smith is one of the last of a dying breed. We used to have movie stars with a capital S, men who studios could count on to open a movie pretty much based on name alone. But the times they are a-changing. Even Tom Cruise isn’t guaranteed box office gold these days, just look at Oblivion and Jack Reacher. But Will Smith has consistently churned out $100+ million takes with very few exceptions. His latest project sees him acting alongside his son Jaden and the results are mixed. After Earth may be working on a few levels, but it is not a terribly complex film. Jaden Smith plays Kitai Raige (don’t worry, everyone has a stupid name in this film) a young cadet in a military training program. He’s held back from advancing to ranger class on the very day that his father returns home after a lengthy absence. His father just so happens to be Cypher Raige (told you) the badass superstar of the futuristic global military. Cypher decides to take Kitai with him on a routine training exercise, but when their spaceship hits an asteroid field and crash lands on Earth, Kitai has to grow up and face his fears and all those other cliches in order to save their lives.

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commentary-id4

In the summer of 1996, Will Smith became a bona fide box office star with the blockbuster hit Independence Day. It was a time of sunny outlooks for all involved. Co-star Jeff Goldblum was fresh off two successful Jurassic Park movies. Director Roland Emmerich had not yet made the disastrous Godzilla. Smith was a good decade away from making movies that star his yet-to-be-born son Jaden. Emmerich and writing/producing partner Dean Devlin recorded a commentary for Independence Day several years after its release when it hit DVD. Recorded at a time before full-blown CGI effects were the norm for pretty much everything in a Hollywood production, Emmerich and Devlin tend to focus on the spectacle of the film, but they still offer some interesting insight into its development and writing.

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Will Smith

What is Casting Couch? It’s the casting news column that’s returning after a small vacation. There’s lots of stuff to catch up with, involving many of the most exciting actors working today, so let’s get started. There’s just no time to waste. There’s some good news and some bad news regarding the casting of that movie about con artists Glenn Ficarra and John Requa have been putting together, called Focus. The good news is that they may have finally found a leading man to replace Ben Affleck, who dropped out of the film to focus on other things. Variety is reporting that, of all people, mega-celebrity Will Smith is currently in negotiations to star in the film. The bad news is, given his advanced age, Smith’s potential casting has led to Kristen Stewart seeing the writing on the wall and dropping out as the film’s female lead. When Will Smith becomes involved in a project, it tends to become the Will Smith Show, so we’ll have to wait and see what he has in mind as far as leading ladies goes.

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mnad_uhura

New shots from Star Trek, a bit about Michael Bay’s ninja turtles and some fun facts about why Will Smith may or may not want to kill Leonardo DiCaprio. It’s all there in tonight’s edition of Movie News After Dark…

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quvenzhane-wallis

Today in “casting rumors that will surprise no one,” EW is reporting that nine-year-old Best Actress nominee Quvenzhané Wallis is “in consideration” to lead Sony’s new Annieremake. With long-attached star Willow Smith officially out and Easy A director Will Gluck officially in to helm the picture, we’ve been expecting casting buzz to start trickling out, and Wallis seems like a no-brainer of a potential star. Wallis is one of young Hollywood’s true rising stars, she’s got the positive buzz of her historic Oscar nomination, and she’s totally adorable. The outlet does stress that “Gluck and the producers at Will Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment banner and Jay-Z’s Marcy Media, which have been developing the project, have yet to make any casting decisions.” Well, we’ll just have to see about that.

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Annie

At this point, Sony Pictures’ remake of the musical classic Annie is turning into the latest Mad Libs production to come out of Hollywood, with studio executives just randomly yelling out names of people who should be working on getting the long-in-development feature off the ground. The project certainly made sense at first as, back in January of 2011, it was announced that Will Smith would be producing the project as a potential vehicle for his daughter, Willow Smith (thank the success of The Karate Kid for that). A few weeks after that, we got wind that Jay-Z would also be producing alongside Smith, which continued sound like a solid way to make a fresh, new Annie, and then Emma Thompson came on board to write the script and any concept we might have had of the new film went right out the window. Thompson’s screenwriting work in the kiddie realm primarily consists of the Nanny McPhee films, which certainly are not the type of updated, contemporary work that this new Annie seemed to dictate. But that’s not all! Last summer, rom-com screenwriting queen Aline Brosh McKenna was brought on to rewrite Thompson’s work, making the film’s vision even more unclear. What was the writer of such films as Three to Tango, Laws of Attraction, The Devil Wears Prada, 27 Dresses, and Morning Glory going to bring to the table of a beloved family classic? Well, who knows, but now we can all keep up our head-scratching because Deadline Hollywood reports that […]

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After Earth

There’s nothing like a trailer made up almost entirely of pretty, action-heavy shots and hammy, overheated voiceover to really get movie-going audiences pumped for what could very well be another disappointing outing from M. Night Shyamalan. At least the filmmaker has lined up two bankable stars – Will Smith and his own son, Jaden Smith – to lead his After Earth, a sci-fi epic that hinges entirely on our interest in the father/son relationship between a real-life father and son. Okay… Set a thousand years in the future where the Earth has been damaged to the point that it’s no longer inhabitable (paging Oblivion?), Smith the elder plays “Legendary General Cypher Raige” (what?), a decorated and lauded military hero who hasn’t done the best job when it comes to raising his own family. Determined to get things right with his son (Smith the younger), the two (somehow?) find themselves on a spacecraft that gets felled by asteroids and crash lands on Earth (a place that, weirdly, young Kitai doesn’t seem to recognize). Cypher is injured and it’s up to young Kitai to set out on quest to save his father, and then we thought about Wall-E and fell asleep. Go back to (oh, my god, is that? it can’t be! what?) Earth with the Smith men in the first trailer for After Earth, after the break.

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What is Casting Couch? It’s where Hollywood moms come every day to find out if their actor kids have gotten a job. Remember that movie about the day JFK got shot that Tom Hanks was putting together because these days he’s such a history loving, lame dad? It’s called Parkland, and it just put together an awesome cast. According to Collider, director Vincent Bugliosi has signed the terrific trio of Paul Giamatti, Jackie Weaver, and Billy Boy Thornton to headline the cast. There’s no word on what characters they’ll be playing, but my guess is Giamatti will be JFK, Thornton will be Jackie O, and Weaver will be Lee Harvey Oswald. Makes sense, no?

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Will Smith After Earth

According to The Wrap, Sony is pushing ahead with the Will Smith-starring Redemption of Cain which sees the actor bringing to life the enduring Biblical tale of two brothers with a vampire twist. Because, as we all know, everything needs a good blood-sucking or it’s just boring. So the question is what the vampire angle will be. Considering the title, it might be a new look at a much-maligned character by making him a hero that vanquishes a vampire. Of course, if the 3rd person on the planet got turned into one, it sort of makes humanity look like idiots. Production will most likely begin next summer, just in time for the vampire fad to be near its end but the Bible fad to be roaring ahead smoothly.

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Will Smith After Earth

Behind the slick video, this first look at After Earth from M. Night Shymalan shows off a sci-fi flick with a lot of old ideas. Hopefully there’s a lot more to it than what’s on the surface. And isn’t that strange? We’ve now entered an era where we’re not necessarily anticipating a twist from Shymalan. The movie focuses on a character named Cypher Raige played by Will Smith. Now that you’ve stopped laughing, it takes place a thousand years after mankind left the Earth behind as Cypher and his son Kital (Jaden Smith) crash on the surface of the planet that their species used to run. Understandably, a lot has changed. Using Facebook Timeline for some reason, this video shows us how an alien ship gave a lot of 20th century technology, but ultimately led to our downfall. Because we broke the environment or something.

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Everyone knows how much the movie-making world relies on trends. If one studio has a superhero movie that hits, suddenly everyone has to have their own superhero movie. If one movie featuring a bow and arrow toting protagonist scores big at the box office, suddenly a flood of Hollywood’s top names find themselves having to take archery lessons. Savvy producers are the ones who are always on the lookout for what the next big trend is going to be. So, now that we’ve gotten through a whole summer of William Tell wannabes, what’s the next big trend that’s going to hit theaters? If Darren Aronofsky or Will Smith are able to bring in the bucks with either of their brewing projects, it might be adaptations of bible stories. The first bit of biblical news floating around today comes from a Tweet sent out directly by Aronofsky himself (via Vulture). Yesterday the Black Swan director took to his Twitter account and sent the following message out to his followers, “I dreamt about this since I was 13. And now it’s a reality. Genesis 6:14 #noah.” Of course, seeing as he’s currently at work making a Russell Crowe-starring adaptation of the story of Noah, it doesn’t take much detective work to figure out that the image of a gigantic wooden structure in mid-construction accompanying his words must be the Ark that’s being built for the film. Yeah, that’s right, CG be damned – Aronofsky is going practical with his giant wooden boat.

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Will Smith is blessed with a natural charisma that can rescue even the most boring and hackneyed of cinematic material. Jaden Smith is his son, and well, it turns out that charisma isn’t genetic. While Smith the Younger kicked off his starring role work with a blunt force bash to Hollywood’s face (that would be thanks to his hit remake of The Karate Kid, which made nearly $360m in worldwide box office cash), his talent is still unproven (and, hey, the kid is still just thirteen-years-old, even I can recognize that), so the possibility of seeing Jaden acting alongside his dad in a big movie seemed like a good idea. Perhaps their natural chemistry would translate well to screen (after all, they were so cute together in The Pursuit of Happyness), and setting them up with a large scale sci-fi film seemed like a fine way to flex some talents and work on others. So it’s too damn bad that M. Night Shyamalan‘s After Earth is apparently going to be much more Jaden-centric than we might have originally suspected.

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Just as the fears of global cataclysm at the end of the last century fueled films like Deep Impact and Armageddon, the ticking clock to December 21, 2012 has led to more end-of-the-world movies that rely on something larger than a zombie outbreak or a deadly contagion (although those have been recently popular as well). The latest entry into Hollywood’s obsession with the Earth’s last days is the apocalyptic rom-com Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, and if the Mayans were right, that might very well be the last one made. Film School Rejects responds to your concerns about the end of the world, as evidenced by the Apocalypse Soon feature currently running on this site. While you’re catching up on these films to see before the end of the world, we wondered who would be the best people to spend that time with. Steve Carell’s character gets to spend the end of the world with Keira Knightley, and here are some cinematic characters with whom we’d like to spend our last days.

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What is Movie News After Dark DRINKING? It’s the end result of a long work day, a half dozen mini doughnuts, a glass of cheap Canadian whisky, Robert Fure, and a keyboard. Suck on it, suckers! This week’s movie news after Drinking is brought to you by Revel Stoke spiced whisky (We should not get paid for this because I’m not drinking this again. Or no we should still get paid, but I’m not drinking this again). But basically the deal is I get kind of drunk and then try to type up a whole bunch of movie news before my arms stop working. If you’re wondering why I’m typing all this nonsense, it’s because we need a certain amount of buffer before we move into the news to put a proper text break in here. But totally keep reading because Will Smith NO JOKE SLAPS A RUSSIAN IN THE FACE IN THE FIRST STORY. (OH LOOK AT ME I’M FRILMCRIT HULK BECAUSE THIS IS ALL CAPITALS)

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Finally, readers, the summer movie season is upon us. So far this year has been solid, but sorely lacking in mega-blockbusters. John Carter did not deliver for the fifteen people who saw it and The Hunger Games, as successful and good as it was, wasn’t an epic actioner or packed with real spectacle. Yet there’s much promise in the action department for the summer of 2012, and it’s starting off just right, with something we’ve all been anticipating. Hopefully the rest of the summer will follow that film’s mighty lead…

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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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