Will Smith is probably the biggest movie star on the planet. Hell, strike the "probably." There was once a time when you could dismiss that notion given the track record and megabucks generated by the likes of Cruise and Hanks. But recent missteps from both those guys coupled with Smith’s apparent infallibility have made it a hard point to disagree with. He’s the rarest of superstars who can do comedy, drama, action, or romance, and do them all well. He appeals to every demographic, he has a high international profile, and he’s so squeaky clean and charming in real life that he can do great PR tirelessly for a film without making the public sick of him.
Best of all, the guy occasionally takes up a challenge rather than just resting on his laurels. His production company – Overbrook Entertainment – has just acquired Le Voyeur, the 1955 novel from Alain Robbe-Grillet. On the surface, and in any press releases you read about the material, it comes off as a routine whodunit. It’s the story of a watchmaker who goes to an island and gets wrapped up in a murder mystery. What’s interesting is that the narrative takes a backseat to the perspective of the protagonist, who might be insane. It’s a challenging book to properly fit into any traditional cinematic narrative form, but even if they retain just a touch of the tone of the novel, it should make for a different sort of project for Smith.
The script has actually been wasting away for a couple of years at Universal, where it awaited the tender touches of Akiva Goldsman as producer. Now, Smith’s gobbled it up for Sony/Columbia Pictures, where his production company is based.