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Will Smith lines up a number of projects, including Focus, American Can, and The Accountant

Apr. 19, 2013by: Paul Shirey

Will Smith, he made a name for himself originally with his PG-rated rap and as the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, has come a long way in his career. However, that journey has mostly been in the form of big-budget blockbusters, which isn't a bad thing, but does prove difficult to maintain throughout the years. Smith has done well in that respect, but the problem is that he rarely elevates beyond that. His ventures into drama, including SEVEN POUNDS and THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS, were fairly well received, but didn't really challenge the actor.

His biggest films have been mostly cheeky, goofy big-budget extravaganza's, from INDEPENDENCE DAY, BAD BOYS (and sequel), HANCOCK, and the three MEN IN BLACK films. Arguably his best performance came from I AM LEGEND, although bad CGI kind of dampened the whole thing.

After a nearly five year hiatus, Smith did MEN IN BLACK 3 and now has M. Night Shyamalan's AFTER EARTH primed for the summer (of which is based on a story by Smith) and is currently filming A WINTER'S TALE with Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly from director Akiva Goldsman. Now, Smith is lining up a number of projects, making him a very busy man for the next few years.

The actor has signed on for the lead role in FOCUS, of which originally was to star Ben Affleck and Kristen Stewart (both have since dropped out), where "he’ll play a veteran con man who mentors a young female newcomer to the grifter game for directors John Requa and Glenn Ficarra."

He's also set to do AMERICAN CAN, which may be helmed by Ed Zwick (THE LAST SAMURAI), where he'll play a Gulf War Veteran who helps save more than 244 people in the wake of Hurricane Katrina by "using his resourcefulness and his military training to get food drops to feed his new friends...eventually finding enough boats to lead them all to safety."

Lastly, Smith is eyeing THE ACCOUNTANT, which originally had Mel Gibson to direct years ago, but fell through. Now, it seems like Smith may be looking to jump back into the role, a "thriller about a government accountant who doubles as an assassin," although Gibson is no longer attached.

Those all seem like some decent choices for the actor, who famously turned down the lead role in Quentin Tarantino's DJANGO UNCHAINED, which most definitely would've been a challenge for the PG-13-friendly actor. I like Will Smith. He's got charm, charisma, physicality, and he can act. It's just a shame he doesn't do more with those abilities, even if he makes bank by doing the minimum.

Which project sounds the most promising to you?

AFTER EARTH hits theaters on May 31, 2013 (moved up a week from its original June 7th slot).

Extra Tidbit: If you visit his IMDB page, almost every future project listed has a number after it.
Source: Deadline

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10:17PM on 04/19/2013
"Focus" sounds like "Matchstick Man", which I really liked.
"Focus" sounds like "Matchstick Man", which I really liked.
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8:11PM on 04/19/2013
I'm glad Will Smith is coming back. The last five years were missing something without my favorite actor making movies.
I'm glad Will Smith is coming back. The last five years were missing something without my favorite actor making movies.
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5:25PM on 04/19/2013
All those projects sound interesting, but the question is: Will (pun not intended) those films challenge Will Smith? I saw the brilliant Robert Zemeckis film 'Flight' with Denzel Washington (who has been playing risky roles, and has been nailing those risky roles in strong films lately). Washington, for me, just seems to get better and better.

Harrison Ford seems to be another actor who has been going out of his comfort zone, or at least playing different than what we're used to
All those projects sound interesting, but the question is: Will (pun not intended) those films challenge Will Smith? I saw the brilliant Robert Zemeckis film 'Flight' with Denzel Washington (who has been playing risky roles, and has been nailing those risky roles in strong films lately). Washington, for me, just seems to get better and better.

Harrison Ford seems to be another actor who has been going out of his comfort zone, or at least playing different than what we're used to seeing...e.g. '42,' a film I still need to see. (Interestingly, he also played a risker role in a Rob Zemeckis film years ago, but it wasn't as strong in writing as 'Flight' was).

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11:00PM on 04/19/2013
To be fair, while Washington has made more than his share of safe bets, he made waves early on in pretty challenging roles.
To be fair, while Washington has made more than his share of safe bets, he made waves early on in pretty challenging roles.
-6
3:45PM on 04/19/2013
Smith does nothing for me.
Smith does nothing for me.
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2:25PM on 04/19/2013
OH I GOTTA GET ME ONE OF THESE
OH I GOTTA GET ME ONE OF THESE
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-11
2:00PM on 04/19/2013
Nothing against Will Smith. For the most part I really enjoy his movies. I thought MIB3 was going to be horrible, but I think it's one of the best in the series. But The Accountant movie sounds horrible! Just a really bad concept for an action movie or a thriller. Focus could be really good if it's more in the vein of Bad Boys, and American Can just seems like a typical Will Smith movie where everyone kisses his ass for 3 months of production and worships him for 2 months of pre-release
Nothing against Will Smith. For the most part I really enjoy his movies. I thought MIB3 was going to be horrible, but I think it's one of the best in the series. But The Accountant movie sounds horrible! Just a really bad concept for an action movie or a thriller. Focus could be really good if it's more in the vein of Bad Boys, and American Can just seems like a typical Will Smith movie where everyone kisses his ass for 3 months of production and worships him for 2 months of pre-release interviews, etc.
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1:53PM on 04/19/2013
dbl post
dbl post
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1:43PM on 04/19/2013
So Will Smith isn't allowed to keep making blockbusters?
So Will Smith isn't allowed to keep making blockbusters?
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1:39PM on 04/19/2013
Trying to make up for Django Unchained. Like Bigger Boat said, these all sound like safe projects for someone who should be trying to do edgier stuff.

Trying to make up for Django Unchained. Like Bigger Boat said, these all sound like safe projects for someone who should be trying to do edgier stuff.

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2:06PM on 04/19/2013
In Big Willy's defense, I was describing HIM, not his upcoming slate. For all I know, they'll be good and I'll look at him differently.

Not holding breath...
In Big Willy's defense, I was describing HIM, not his upcoming slate. For all I know, they'll be good and I'll look at him differently.

Not holding breath...
2:07PM on 04/19/2013
Wait. That wasn't in Will's defense.

I need sleep in a bad way...
Wait. That wasn't in Will's defense.

I need sleep in a bad way...
1:36PM on 04/19/2013
Safe. Non-Edgy. Vanilla. Zzzzzzzzzz...
Safe. Non-Edgy. Vanilla. Zzzzzzzzzz...
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