Will Smith plots first major acting comeback project with Paramount Pictures’ Brilliance

Will Smith appears to be plotting his acting return nearly six months after infamously slapping comedian Chris Rock on stage at the 94th Academy Awards.

According to Deadline, the 53-year-old is being eyed to star in filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s feature directorial debut, Brilliance, with Paramount Pictures.

Described as Smith’s ‘passion project,’ he will also produce the project with his longtime collaborator, director Akiva Goldsman, who penned the script.

Big return? Will Smith appears to be plotting his acting return just six months after infamously slapping comedian Chris Rock on stage at the 94th Academy Awards; Smith seen in March

Goldsman is behind a number of Smith-starring features, such as I, Robot (2004), I Am Legend (2007) and Hancock (2008).

Despite it being a potential career comeback, a source told Deadline that Smith ‘hasn’t committed’ to starring in the film as of yet.

Goldsman’s script was adapted from the novel of the same name by author Marcus Sakey, who is also listed as one of the film’s producers.

It centers on 1% of the human population that, since 1980, have been born with extraordinary abilities.

Brilliance: According to Deadline, the 53-year-old is being eyed to star in filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy's feature directorial debut, Brilliance, with Paramount Pictures.  It is based off the novel of the same name by author Marcus Sakey.  Sakey is also listed as one of the film's producers

Brilliance: According to Deadline, the 53-year-old is being eyed to star in filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s feature directorial debut, Brilliance, with Paramount Pictures. It is based off the novel of the same name by author Marcus Sakey. Sakey is also listed as one of the film’s producers

The hope is for Smith to portray the film’s protagonist, federal agent Nick Cooper.

He’s a ‘brilliant’ worker for the Department of Analysis and Response who’s used his abilities to track down terrorists.

When he’s faced with his most dangerous target yet, a fellow brilliant with a thirst for destruction, Cooper ‘will have to violate everything he believes in―and betray his own kind,’ according to the synopsis.

Smith will produce Brilliance through his company Westbrook Studios along with co-president Jon Mone and producer Ryan Shimazaki.

As for Goldsman, the acclaimed director will partner with producer Greg Lessans via Weed Road Pictures as well as The Story Factory’s Shane Salerno and Overbrook Entertainment’s James Lassiter.

Collaborative: Described as Smith's 'passion project,' he will also produce the project with his longtime collaborator, director Akiva Goldsman, who penned the script;  Akiva seen in 2021

Collaborative: Described as Smith’s ‘passion project,’ he will also produce the project with his longtime collaborator, director Akiva Goldsman, who penned the script; Akiva seen in 2021

History: Goldsman is behind a number of Smith-starring features, such as I, Robot (2004), I Am Legend (2007) and Hancock (2008)

History: Goldsman is behind a number of Smith-starring features, such as I, Robot (2004), I Am Legend (2007) and Hancock (2008)

Director Obaid-Chinoy has racked up an impressive resume of TV work and short films, including the Academy Award-winning shorts Saving Face and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness.

Although this may be Smith’s acting return, the star has already nabbed his first project since making waves at this year’s Academy Awards.

He was captured on set of the upcoming National Geographic and Disney+ docuseries, Welcome To Earth, in Ecuador earlier this month.

The repentant actor also traveled to India in April and was spotted in Zanzibar, Tanzania in May with his wife Jada Pinkett, 50, where they worked on projects at District Hospital in Bagamoyo.

Comeback: Although this may be Smith's acting return, the star has already nabbed his first project since making waves at this year's Academy Awards.  He was captured on set of the upcoming National Geographic and Disney+ docuseries, Welcome To Earth, in Ecuador earlier this month;  Smith seen in March

Comeback: Although this may be Smith’s acting return, the star has already nabbed his first project since making waves at this year’s Academy Awards. He was captured on set of the upcoming National Geographic and Disney+ docuseries, Welcome To Earth, in Ecuador earlier this month; Smith seen in March

It was reported Tuesday that Smith’s Apple TV+ film, Emancipation, which wrapped shooting in late 2021, is rumored to be getting an early December release.

Due to the blowback Smith received in the wake of his Oscar Night slap, Variety originally reported that Apple had decided to delay the film’s release until 2023.

Emancipation, which was co-produced by Smith’s Westbrook Studios, was originally slated for a fall premiere.

With a rumored December 2022 release date on the horizon, this would make the film and Smith potential contenders for the upcoming awards season.

The Academy confirmed earlier this year that ‘any feature film must have a qualifying release date between January 1 and December 31, 2022’ to be considered, as per Deadline.

'The slap': Smith has been making a slow return to Hollywood since slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars in March;  pictured

‘The slap’: Smith has been making a slow return to Hollywood since slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars in March; pictured

Hitting a nerve: He did so after the comedian made a bald joke onstage about his wife Jada, who shaved her head because she has alopecia;  Smith and wife Jada seen in February

Hitting a nerve: He did so after the comedian made a bald joke onstage about his wife Jada, who shaved her head because she has alopecia; Smith and wife Jada seen in February

Smith has been making a slow return to Hollywood since slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars in March.

He did so after the comedian made a bald joke onstage about his wife Jada, who shaved her head because she has alopecia.

Less than an hour after his outburst, Smith was awarded the best actor Oscar and received a standing ovation for his tearful speech in which he called himself a protector of his family and expressed a desire to be a ‘vessel of love.’

Although he apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees during his speech, he did not issue a public apology to Rock until the following day.

Banned: Although he apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees during his speech, he did not issue a public apology to Rock until the following day;  Smith seen in 2016

Banned: Although he apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees during his speech, he did not issue a public apology to Rock until the following day; Smith seen in 2016

Before the Academy could decide what punishment it should impose for the incident, Will resigned from the organization.

Although his departure meant he could no longer vote for the Oscars, he at that point was still able to attend the show.

However the Academy has since imposed a 10-year ban on his attending the ceremony, although he can still be nominated to win an Oscar.

He later posted an apology video to social media for slapping Rock and described his behavior as ‘unacceptable’ and that Rock was ‘not ready to talk’ about the incident with him.

Not quite ready!  He later posted an apology video to social media for slapping Rock and described his conduct was 'unacceptable' and that Rock was 'not ready to talk' about the incident with him;  Rock seen on September 14

Not quite ready! He later posted an apology video to social media for slapping Rock and described his conduct was ‘unacceptable’ and that Rock was ‘not ready to talk’ about the incident with him; Rock seen on September 14

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