Will Smith's new sci-fi action movie Gemini Man is now genuinely moving forward, as it's been reported that Clive Owen is in talks to play the role of the villain and a shortlist for the female lead is in place. The project has been in various stages of development for at least two decades, and linked with many Hollywood names. But with Ang Lee as the director and Smith as the star, the cast finally seems to be coming together.
Gemini Man revolves around a simple plot-device that has been used before in various genres. An elite assassin is aging and losing his edge, so his superiors decide to use available technology and clone a younger version to replace him. The stage is then set for the two versions of the character to ultimately fight to the death. The original pitch was first given to Disney back in 1997 on the understanding that Tony Scott (Top Gun) would be directing. This failed to happen and despite Jerry Bruckheimer and Curtis Hanson (L.A. Confidential) being subsequently linked to the production, the film remained in limbo until Skydance Media got involved in 2017. Soon after that, Ang Lee signed to direct the film and then Will Smith was announced as the lead playing the titular character.
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Now Variety is reporting that Clive Owen (Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets) is in talks to play the main antagonist in the movie, who will presumably be siding with the 'evil' Smith clone as he fights his elder version. It's also reported that Lee will be contacting the three actresses who are on the shortlist to play the female lead. They have been identified as Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black), Mary Elizabeth Winstead (10 Cloverfield Lane), and Elizabeth Debicki (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2). An announcement concerning the role is expected in the coming weeks.
It seems extraordinary that a high-concept actioner like this has taken so long to get past early development, but at least this casting news indicates that the schedule should be on track to meet the release date of October 2019, which had been previously announced by Paramount Pictures. Like most films starring Smith, the schedule always has to take into account the actor's other projects, but principal photography is reportedly expected to start during Spring 2018. Owen is a good choice for a villain having previous experience with energetic actioners like Shoot 'Em Up, and any one of the actresses mentioned would make a fine addition to the cast.
Following the recent mixed reviews for Bright this could be the ideal movie for Smith to reaffirm his leading man status, especially as it will likely involve him playing two separate characters in plenty of action scenes. Lee is a sturdy choice for directing as well, and can hopefully revive some of the balletic physicality he captured in previous movies like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. We'll bring you more updates as we get them.
Gemini Man will be released on October 4th, 2019