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Will Smith's 'Colossus: The Forbin Project' Adaptation Hires 'Men In Black' Scribe To Rework Script

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act March 16, 2013 at 1:43PM

This is one of about 30 different projects on Will Smith's slate of films to come. The man just continues to stack them up!
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Will Smith/Colossus

This is one of about 30 different projects on Will Smith's slate of films to come. The man just continues to stack them up!

Although this is one that was actually first announced in 2010, but there hasn't been any reported progress on it since that initial announcement over 2 years ago.

It looks like it's still very much alive, and just might be what's next for Big Willie, who'll be co-starring in the upcoming sci-fi project - After Earth - with son Jaden Smith, and M. Night Shyamalan directing, out this summer.

Since 2010, he's been attached to star in the long-in-gestation Colossus: The Forbin Project, based on a novel by Dennis Feltham, and is described as "a contemporary Frankenstein story about the world's first sentient computer and the misunderstood genius who gains power over the world because of it."

Ron Howard has long been attached to direct for Universal and Imagine Entertainment.

Film buffs will be familiar with the 1970 Joseph Sargent-directed film that was also based on the book.

Howard's version has been in the works since 2007.

Will will star as the Dr. Forbin, in the film's title.

Skip ahead to last night, when it was announced that Universal Pictures has hired Men in Black writer Ed Solomon to rewrite the Colossus screenplay. Obviously there was already a script apparently, penned by Blake Masters and Jason Rothenberg.

It's not yet public what story the current version of the script will tell, and how different (or similar) it is to the source material, or the first film.

I actually own the book, but just haven't gotten around to reading it yet (my to-read pile is a mile high, and I'm continuously adding to it). But now that it looks like this has been given a shot in the arm, I'll move the novel up on my list, and read it after I'm done with The Black Count. And I'll consider a book-to-film report.

In the meantime, you'll find a full plot write-up of the novel on Wikipedia HERE, if you don't mind spoilers.

From what I understand, the novel is very much of its time (published in 1966). Computers were still very much government domain, and a mystery to the public. They weren't in almost every home, nor portable, like they are now. And also there was a cold war happening between the US and the Soviets, which factors into the film's narrative as well. So the idea of two world powers building these massive devices called computers that could become self-aware and take control of many different things, was probably a really scary concept at the time (although, I'd say that it's probably still a scary notion today; we might just be more aware and prepared for it).

Therefore, the challenge the screenwriters have here is to contemporize the story, so that it makes sense in 2013/2014.

Imagine's Brian Grazer and Ron Howard are producing the Will Smith version of the novel.

The first film adaptation of the novel, which came after Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, and before the first Terminator film (movies that belong in that pantheon of human-created-machines-going-bad sub-genre, broadly speaking) is on DVD, for those who want to check it out. It's not streaming on Netflix unfortunately.

I embedded a trailer below, for a glimpse:


This article is related to: Will Smith


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