Will Smith – his reputation battered, but not at all broken, following last year’s After Earth – shall appear in supernatural romance Winter’s Tale next month and star in the heist movie Focus (opposite The Wolf of Wall Street actress Margot Robbie) later this year, but what’s after that? Well, one possibility is the long-gestating supernatural thriller Selling Time, which the A-lister has been circling in recent months.
In truth, Smith first did this dance with Selling Time a few years back, but the project failed to get off the ground; in fact, the potential film has been slowly climbing the ladder to production for over a decade, ever since Dan McDermott (back when he was president of DreamWorks Television) sold the spec to Fox 2000 in 2001. Now that McDermott is rewriting his script for a newly-attached director, the project may finally stop dragging its feet and actually get started with production.
Deadline is reporting that D.J. Caruso is signing a deal to direct Selling Time, while McDermott puts together a new screenplay draft in an effort to entice Smith to actually commit to headlining the film. Caruso is perhaps best known for his thriller genre collaborations with Angelina Jolie (Taking Lives) and Shia LaBeouf (Disturbia, Eagle Eye) – less so for his unrewarding dip in the young adult book adaptation well (with the 2011 release I Am Number Four), and his abandoned vision for a Y: The Last Man comic book movie.
The premise for Selling Time – a man strikes a deal where he gives up seven years of his life in order to prevent a life-changing tragedy (with unforeseen consequences) – brings to mind The Butterfly Effect and A Sound of Thunder (among others); such is the fine-line nature of sci-fi and supernatural/fantasy tropes. Richard Curtis’ time-travel/romance About Time successfully puts a fluffy, yet poignant, spin on a similar scenario during its second act, but a darker feature-length exploration could be interesting too (assuming that’s what McDermott’s script will offer).
However, Smith was recently confirmed for Shawn Levy’s father/daughter fantasy City That Sailed, and there are three franchise installments being written – Independence Day 2, Bad Boys 3 and Men in Black 4 – that could theoretically sneak in and grab Smith’s attention while Selling Time‘s script is revised. So, Big Will might not be striking any devil’s deals (onscreen) anytime soon.
We’ll keep you posted on the status of Selling Time as the story develops.