Will Smith Starring In ‘Joe’ A Modernized Book of Job

Published 4 years ago by , Updated August 24th, 2013 at 10:42 am,

It’s strange to think that Will Smith hasn’t headlined a picture since the underperforming Seven Pounds hit theaters back in 2008. He’ll be back in Men in Black 3 next year, and is attached to headline a handful of upcoming movies – one of the more intriguing films being that of Joe, a contemporary take on the Book of Job.

Screenwriting duo Eric Johnson and Paul Tamasy may not have landed an Oscar for their efforts on The Fighter, but their Hollywood card is definitely on the rise. The two were responsible for scripting Joe, and are hoping to work again with director David O. Russell on the project.

Johnson and Tamasy were on the Movie B.S. podcast yesterday and mentioned that their Joe screenplay has already been purchased by Sony, with Smith in line to star. Here’s how the pair described their script:

“It’s about a man (Smith) [who is living] the American dream. He’s got the nice house, white picket fence, great kids, great wife, nice cars. God and the Devil get together every thousand years to bet on a man’s life, and the fate of the world is at stake.”

“What all of us get hit with in a lifetime, this man gets hit with in one week. And it’s about whether or not he can still pick himself up from that and survive it. It’s a dramedy. At its heart, it’s a comedy – but it’s got, obviously, a real dramatic core to it.”

Michael Stuhlbarg in A Serious Man Will Smith Starring In Joe A Modernized Book of Job

Michael Stuhlbarg in ‘A Serious Man’.

The Coen Brothers devised their own, off-kilter version of Job’s tale of woe back in 2009 with A Serious Man, and it’s likely that Joe will take a similarly bleak but comedic approach to the story. Granted, the Will Smith vehicle is unlikely to be as distinctly warped as what the Coens came up with, but dark humor and characters whose lives were full of general discord were both very much big parts of The Fighter - and that should also hold true for Joe.

While Joe aims to be the latest Smith vehicle that showcases the megastar’s dramatic chops – with previous attempts including Ali, The Pursuit of Happyness, and Shark Tale (yes, kidding on the last one) – he won’t be hanging up his blockbuster card anytime soon. Smith is also currently attached to the Wachowskis’ Robin Hood re-imagining, Hood, and The Legend of Cain, another biblical tale retold (this time with vampires, believe it or not).

Russell is still deciding on what his followup to The Fighter will be, and he’s attached or connected in some form to numerous upcoming pics, including Uncharted, 2 Guns, and Cocaine Cowboys, among others. Joe could be a nice fit for the director, and the darkly comical subject matter (which will almost certainly include relationship dysfunction, a Russell specialty) seems right up his alley. He’ll have to decide on a new project sooner or later, so stay tuned for a future announcement on the matter.

Smith is currently waiting for the Men in Black threequel to resume from its extended production hiatus, and it’s not all that clear when he’ll make time to star in Joe, regardless of who ends up directing. The story of a decent man who finds that the universe itself is (literally) conspiring against him is one that many people can relate to, and having someone as charismatic as Smith play Joe is a solid idea in its own right.

We’ll keep you posted on the development of Joe as more information is released.

Source: Movie B.S. (via Collider)

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  1. Will, saving the world again.

    • I think between Will Smith and Jamie Fox, there isnt a word descriptive enough to encompass their ego’s.

      • Why stop at those two? Hollywood is full of ego, from the top to the bottom.
        Just the other night, Hollywood held its most bloated event of the year.

      • Furthermore, David O. Russell and his bestest of buddies Mark Wahlberg are quite a hoot, too. I’m surprised Wahlberg’s not playing the lead here. Russell and Wahlberg are almost permanently attached at the hip.

        How hilarious it was that the cocky Wahlberg thought The Fighter was his project, was going to send him to Oscar Wonderland, only to see three other actors who were playing supporting roles get nominated, and he didn’t. Hilarious and poetic.

        • yea dude if you pay attention to the audience when all these people get there awards you see walberg scowling!! haha and didnt anyone eles notice downey jr get beat out in special fx and by inception and christopher nolan AGAIN hes got like a grudge against the nolan films hahah

  2. Gee go figure, Smith wants to once again be the person who saves the world.

  3. Next up, Will Smith as Jesus.

    Followed up by Will Smith in the reboot of Bruce Almighty.


  4. It’s good he took a small break. The backlash has definitely started, mainly because he was so over exposed (though not in the same way as Paul Ruebens),long may this break continue!

  5. In my opinion Will Smith is a good actor… so I congratulate him in his well deserved success. I don’t understand the hate, but to each their own.

    And secondly I haven’t seen him in any movies lately… so I feel this isn’t over kill with exposure.

    • More hate than love going around the Internet, hate often mixed with jealousy.
      Nepotism and overexposure in Hollywood didn’t start (and definitely won’t end) with Will Smith, but it sure seems that people think that way.

  6. I wonder how they plan on doing this? Will they have personifications for God and satan, just show a passage from the Book of Job, or will there just be voices? Will they have the same dilema, where satan states he can’t tempt Joe because he’s being protected? Will he be a man of God? Just wondering.

  7. this is what you call running out of ideas and gas, LOL! they would be better off casting him as JOB and do the real story. maybe audiences can
    learn a lesson in humility and stop paying attention to these hollywood times who love to promote themselves all the time.

  8. So exciting to see they are filming “the Book of Joe” for the 3rd time. How can
    I find a copy of the first one released in 1978? It was filmed and premiered in
    Franklin, Indiana in January of 1977. It was directed and produced by Herb Rodgers,
    of Rodgers Productions. I was offered the role of Joe’s Franklin College’s cheerleading
    daughter who gets killed by a train, but couldn’t take a month off from my new job. So Herb
    Wrote in a extra secretary role I could film on weekends. Two of my sisters were extras
    Along with several friends from Franklin College where I had graduated in 1976.
    I have always wondered what might have happened had I given up my job to play the
    role Herb said I was perfect for. I would be so grateful of you would help me find
    This movie. It never achieved a wide release because they played it too middle of the road,
    between Biblical and trying to appear to a wilder audience.