'Brilliance' Reunites Will Smith With The Guy Who Put Him In 'Winter's Tale'

Will Smith is making a big return to sci-fi in a project that reunites him with screenwriter/director Akiva Goldsman, who worked with Smith on such projects as I Am Legend, I, Robot, and most recently (and maybe most notoriously), Winter's Tale. The pair are developing a Brilliance movie, based on the sci-fi novel by Marcus Sakey which takes place in a world in which 1% of the world has been born with special powers.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Smith and Goldsman are in early development on a feature film adaptation of Brilliance, based on the 2013 novel by Marcus Sakey. The novel, which spawned a trilogy including installments A Better World and Written in Fire, is set in a world in which part of the population started to develop special powers from birth, beginning in 1980.

Smith is set to play federal agent Nick Cooper, who is "tasked with keeping tabs on individuals with special gifts, known as Brilliants," THR describes. According to the outlet, Cooper also has the special ability to read body language so well that he can predict people's moves.

Here is the synopsis for the first book of the series:

In Wyoming, a little girl reads people's darkest secrets by the way they fold their arms. In New York, a man sensing patterns in the stock market racks up $300 billion. In Chicago, a woman can go invisible by being where no one is looking. They're called "brilliants," and since 1980, one percent of people have been born this way. Nick Cooper is among them; a federal agent, Cooper has gifts rendering him exceptional at hunting terrorists. His latest target may be the most dangerous man alive, a brilliant drenched in blood and intent on provoking civil war. But to catch him, Cooper will have to violate everything he believes in – and betray his own kind.

The premise sounds like X-Men meets Blade Runner — an ambitious premise, though is it one that could turn into a successful film for Smith? The actor has been striking out somewhat in the sci-fi field, with recent films like After Earth and Men in Black 3 greeted with abysmal reviews and poor box office returns, with the exception of Bright, which inexplicably is a bit hit on Netflix.

Brilliance had been set up before as a potential film at Legendary and Universal with Smith attached, but now that the star is reunited with his old pal Goldsman, it appears the project is moving along. Though their previous collaborations on I, Robot and I Am Legend were hits, Smith's decision to pair with Goldsman is a bit baffling considering Goldsman's feature directorial debut got Smith to star in another stinker, Winter's Tale. But it's uncertain whether Goldsman is producing, writing, or directing this film. Only Smith is attached to star so far.