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Will Smith is Legend

Mar. 18, 2002by: Mike Sampson

It looks as if all parties involved in I AM LEGEND (which includes Warner Bros, Will Smith, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Michael Bay) have finally hammered out some sort of agreement that will allow the film to be made sometime in the next century.   The problem originally lied in the fact Schwarzenegger was the star of LEGEND.  He developed the project, about the last human survivor on a post-Apocalyptic Earth fighting off mutants, with Ridley Scott (who had since moved on to other things) and was still very interested in starring in the film.  Then Will Smith and Michael Bay got their hands on the script and were suddenly very excited themselves to star and direct the film respectively.  But would Arnie just step aside and let someone else take over a project he's been following since 1997?  Hardly.

Arnie wanted to star in LEGEND and that much was clear.   But once Smith and Bay were tossed in the mix, did WB still want Schwarzenegger to star?  Rumors were flying that Warners wanted to gently nudge Arnie out of his starring role and replace him with the more bankable Smith.  His hefty paycheck (still north of $30 million) and waning box-office draw left critics to wonder whether he could carry a movie that featured only one central human character.  Smith meanwhile has had a string of recent hits and is more "hot" than Arnold.  Then again, Arnold is Arnold - you can't just tell him you don't want him starring in your movie, especially when he's the man behind your tentpole 2003 release (TERMINATOR 3).  But now it seems a deal has been worked out that will make everyone happy.

Will Smith will now star in I AM LEGEND with Michael Bay directing and Arnold Schwarzengger producing.  Schwarzenegger stepped away from this project and was given WESTWORLD and KING CONAN as T:3 follow-ups by Warners.  He'll still get a decent-sized paycheck for his credit on LEGEND but it allows Smith to take over as the star, a role he was very interested in.  All in all, this looks like a winning deal for all parties.  Arnold keeps his rep and Smith, Bay and WB get the project they were looking for.

Source: Variety
Tags: Hollywood

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