Jared Leto in Early Talks to Take Over for Will Smith in ‘Brilliance’

By June 17, 2014
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Will Smith took a break from acting for a few years before getting back into things with Men in Black 3 and After Earth. He had cameos in a couple of other movies that I won’t ruin in case you haven’t seen them, and he’s working on a film called Focus with The Wolf of Wall Street star Margot Robbie right now. We thought his next project would be a movie called Brilliance, but he dropped out of that last week in favor of an NFL-themed movie that deals with player concussions, leaving Brilliance without a leading man. But that position won’t be vacant for long.

Deadline reports that Jared Leto is in early talks to take over for Smith in the sci-fi thriller. The movie is based on a novel by author Marcus Sakey which is the first part in a saga. Here’s the book’s synopsis:

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.

Jared Leto 3

Leto would play Nick Cooper, the terrorist hunter. The actor recently won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor at the Academy Awards for his work in Dallas Buyers Club, and if this deal goes through, it will be the first major movie he’ll appear in following that win. There was some talk that Marvel once had its eye on Leto for Doctor Strange, though with a wishlist of names including Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hardy and the fact that Leto is taking meetings for other work, it doesn’t seem likely that he’ll eventually suit up as the Sorcerer Supreme.

Brilliance sounds like it could be an interesting non-traditional superhero movie, and though I can see Smith in this role because of his connection with sci-fi (Men in Black) and superhero fare (Hancock), picturing Leto in a role like this seems a bit more far-fetched to me. The 30 Seconds to Mars frontman has always been very selective about his roles, only appearing in six movies in the past ten years with half of those being indies that lack a mass appeal. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, mind you – it’s just a little surprising to hear that he’s taking his Oscar and considering taking the same part that Will Smith (who pretty much exclusively makes blockbusters) was lined up for.

What do you think? Can you see Leto playing the role of Nick Cooper? Let us know below!

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Ben is a writer living in Los Angeles, California. His work has been featured at ScreenRant.com, FirstShowing.net, MySpace.com, GeekTyrant.com, and many more sites across the web. Some of his favorite movies include The Rocketeer, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Tombstone, Lucky Number Slevin, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Collateral, Double Indemnity, Back to the Future and The Prestige. Follow him on Twitter: @BenPears.