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Known for traditionally playing characters that are likable or heroic in films of the crowd-pleasing and family-friendly kind, like Men In Black and Independence Day, Smith looks to be preparing to take part in a project that will take him down a decidedly more serious path.
According to reports from the entertainment news site The Wrap, Smith is currently in negotiations with Warner Bros. and producer Jerry Weintraub to both star in and co-produce a remake of the 1969 film The Wild Bunch, directed by Sam Peckinpah. The notoriously violent, dark and gritty picture is set in 1913 during the final days of the Wild West and centers on a gang of aging gunfighters who plan to make one last stand as they prepare to stage a robbery in a Mexican border town.
Smith's film would essentially be a reinterpretation, being set in the present day and time as opposed to the beginning of the 20th century. Smith would play a DEA agent whose career has been damaged by scandal. He turns to a gang of accomplices and goes rogue in order to bring down the leader of a Mexican drug cartel, unable to utilize the usual legal channels to achieve the objective.
With the reports of this news, earlier plans to remake The Wild Bunch were brought to the forefront. Most notably those involving the late director Tony Scott and Jerry Weintraub with Brian Helgeland, known for 2004's Man on Fire and 2010's Robin Hood, penning the script.
If Smith accepts this project, as he is expected to do, his own production company, Overbrook Entertainment, which produced Smith vehicles Hancock (2008), I Am Legend (2007), and Seven Pounds (2008), will collaborate with Weintraub and Warner Bros. to bring The Wild Bunch to the big screen. The earlier script by Helgeland is assumed to be shelved, and a new writer will be hired to tailor the script to Smith's liking. There is no official word on that at this point, nor is there any official news on a director or other co-stars. However, one of the high points of the original film was the outstanding ensemble cast, which included the likes of such actors as Robert Ryan, Ben Johnson, William Holden, and Ernest Borgnine. Fans of the original will be hoping for some solid talent for Smith to play off of.
The general buzz around the web regarding the announcement of this bit of news hasn't been too positive, but we'd like to know what you think! What say you, dear Fusers? Might you be up for a fresh (prince) interpretation of the classic tale?