‘Men in Black’ Screenwriter Rescues Will Smith Vehicle ‘Colossus’

Published 2 years ago by , Updated February 16th, 2014 at 9:24 am,

After struggling in developmental purgatory since 2007, Colossus - the remake of the 1970s science fiction thriller Colossus: The Forbin Project starring Will Smith - has been given a much-needed boost.

Ed Solomon, screenwriter for Men in Black and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure/Bogus Journey, has been brought onboard to rewrite the film’s script and breathe new life into the project.

Solomon is stepping in after a six-year period of inactivity on the film, which is being produced by Imagine Entertainment and distributed by Universal – the very same studio that was behind the first movie over forty years ago. Colossus will mark Solomon’s second collaboration with Smith, who obviously starred in Men in Black in 1997. Bryan Grazer and Ron Howard are producing for Imagine, as well as Erica Huggins and David J. Collins; meanwhile, Universal has Anikah McLaren and Sara Scott supervising.

Initial script treatments were written by Blake Masters (of Law and Order: LA fame) and Jason Rothenberg, and details of the plot have been kept under lock and key despite its remake status. The narrative is no secret to anyone with Internet access and a Netflix subscription, though.

Joseph Sargent’s original picture tells the story of Dr. Charles Forbin, a chief engineer who designs a super computer – the Colossus of the film’s title – as a means of controlling both US and Allied nuclear weapons systems. Forbin thinks he’s devised a perfect defense system, but as is expected of any good sci-fi yarn, his great idea leads to catastrophe as Colossus attains sentience and very rapidly begins seizing control of the entire planet.

Colossus The Forbin Project Remake Men in Black Screenwriter Rescues Will Smith Vehicle Colossus

‘Colossus: The Forbin Project’ (1970)

Hardly a masterpiece, but hardly a joke, either, Colossus: The Forbin Project exists as a more straight-faced variation on Dr. Strangelove. It’s a Cold War movie, through and through, and a good one at that regardless of the fact that it’s a minor entry in sci-fi cinema canon.

The notion of seeing Colossus remade is an intriguing one – the through-line of cultural paranoia at the film’s center isn’t quite so prevalent in modern society, even though we live in a time where the limitations of government are a part of our nation’s political dialogue. Much more relevant, however, is the concept of technology gone too far; most of us spend an inordinate amount of time glued to smart phones or tablets, so maybe a film in which an artificial intelligence begins dictating the protagonist’s schedule and deciding on his meals for him will end up resonating.

That is, if Solomon decides to go in that direction. Nothing of either Masters’ or Rothenberg’s preliminary efforts is known as of yet, and Solomon hasn’t begun his work yet, so it’s up in the air where he’ll end up taking Colossus.

Currently, Smith – whose next film, After Earth, hits theaters June 7th, 2013 (you can see the latest trailer here) – is the only known quantity. Are you interested in seeing him work with a Solomon-penned script again?

Stay tuned to Screen Rant for more news on Colossus as this story develops.


Source: The Hollywood Reporter

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  1. Will Smith? Im in!!!

  2. Will Smith? I’m out!!!

    Seriously? Will Smith as a scientist? ROFLMAO
    Talk about casting against type.

    • Will Smith? Im In!

      Everyone would obviously recall him playing Robert Neville The Scientist Army dude in I Am Legend!
      Talk about perfect casting!

      • I hope that is sarcasm.

      • I hope that isn’t sarcasm.

        • Im a total Will Smith fanboy! i personally think he could pull off any role he wanted to, aside from iconic rolls such as superman, batman and general rolls like that, unless youre iconic character was a freaking awesome African American and/or African guy!

          • Did you not see Hancock? ie black Superman? Smith is a good actor but saying he has done anything great is a stretch. He has taken on may rolls but few have excelled.

  3. In no particular order and at random…the computers in “2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY”, “WAR GAMES”, “EAGLE EYE” — well, there’s nothing new under the sun, is true. So, film producers remake/reboot by “taking the story in a new direction”.

    Will there ever come a time when this sort of thing becomes the death of movies? Guess not, as long as there is the coming generation that haven’t seen the movies which have gone before their arrival out of the womb. There has always been this “sub-genre” of filmmaking. It’s called “homage”.

    And so it goes.


  4. YAWN

    IM Out, and not because of Will Smith.

    Shades of Skynet, its Terminator without killing robots, its computers gone sentient and trying to control mankind.

  5. I think the threat of nuclear attack is plausible and still resonates in these modern times.

  6. Will smith isnt a draw anymore. I cant think of the last movie he was in that was actually good or original

    • will smith is still a draw as an actor and a producer

    • I thought hancock and seven pounds were both good AND original

  7. When I heard “Colossus” I said great Science Fiction.
    When I heard Will Smith is portraying a PhD in CS, I thought there’s the fiction.
    I personally would go with Denzel Washington as Forbin because he looks like a person who has stared at a few billion lines of code late into the night for 30+ years.

    • Thank-you
      This a million times.

      Wise-cracking, ghetto-talking Smith is completely wrong for the role. He attempt at a serious role in “I Am Legend” was heinous. The “real Will Smith” kept bleeding through. There is no way to separate him from his wise-cracking persona.

      His idea of “looking serious” is to pout. 2 hours of Will Smith pouting? I think I’ll just watch Eric Braeden in the original film. At least he was convincing in his role.

  8. Smith has shown he can do drama, so long as he’s not making wisecracks through this movie, I’m in. I loved the original Colossus, but I know they want to likely make it a trilogy, as the books were, and I CERAINLY HOPE, a lot of crap gets changed in the sequels, if there are any. First book good, the second, the Fall of Colossus, was mediocre. The last, I think was Colossus and the Crab. That was ridiculous.

    • Will Smith has shown he can do ANY role he wants!

      • He can do any role he wants, doing those roles well is the question.

        His Actions Movies, his him being a wisecracker.

        When he is serious, he is better. But Action, well…so much its just Will Smith being Will Smith.

      • Will Smith has shown he can act like himself, almost every singe time. If you’re old enough and watched the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

        If a repetitive trick is known as talent these days, then so be it.

        To sum up, Will Smith has shown that he can get any role that a producer wants to sell a film to young women and even younger boys.

  9. I think i missed the Memo about it being cool to hate on Will Smith! :/ why doesnt anyone tell me these things!?

    • It’s not a question of “hating” on him.
      It’s a question of bad casting.
      I can’t imagine Jack Black in the role of Dr. Charles Forbin either. Doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate some of the roles he’s done.

      Will Smith was fine in silly fare like Independence Day. He’s completely wrong for Forbin, and he was horribly, tragically wrong for “I Am Legend”.

  10. The important thing to me is that the plan is to do 3 movies from all of the books, The Fall Of Colossus and Colossus And The Crab as well as The Forbin Project. The first book sets up the expected “Skynet” scenario, the later two turn that on its head. I love the trilogy, as a whole. Great speculative fiction presents what you expect but then makes you reexamine it from a different angle.

  11. They should adapt the “Destination: Void” universe instead. It’s way more interesting, covers similar questions, takes them in a more interesting direction, and has potential blockbuster right on the front cover; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Destination:_Void .

    I just don’t understand Hollywood sometimes. The whole “Crab” story line has been overused in recent years, alien invasion, but it’s probably what would make the whole thing even interesting. So why not look at it in reverse, the “Void” universe…

    • Were it in my power I’d get Heinlein’s Stranger In A Strange Land made. I even have the perfect Jubal Harshaw: Robert Duval. Jennifer Connely would have been perfect as Gillian about 10-15 years ago.

  12. Please God say it ain’t so. That’s just ruined my weekend :(
    Just leave great films alone, please!
    Downs bottle of Whisky to numb the pain, whilst muttering Will Fooking Smith are they insane!!!!

  13. first 5comments have me crying in tears

  14. Not a great concept really… Its so over done that it will just come off as a bit derivative and bland… Someone should film The Man In The High Castle as that is one classic Sci-Fi story to not make it to the screen rather than spending time re-hashing old rather worn-out tropes done to death in a dozen or more films already.

  15. Id rather see will smith in something more challenging….maybe a 2001: Space Odyssey remake (because lets face it…the original is amazing but slow) Or maybe even a “Contact” type movie.

    The point is will smith is in the top 10% of Hollywood…meaning he can push for any movie he likes. I would consider working with someone like Ben Affleck or Duncan Jones (Moon) or Neil Blomkamp (District 9, Elysium)

    His Star power & talent is better then the stuff hes been putting out lately. I’am Legend aside, was the last movie I truly liked.

  16. Alright Will!