According to Variety, Jared Leto is in talks to star in Legendary’s “Brilliance,” sources tell Variety. He would be replacing Will Smith, who was forced to leave the project for the lead role in the untitled Ridley Scott-produced pic on concussions in the NFL. The talks are still early as Leto just met with director Julius Onah, but if a deal goes through, he would star alongside Noomi Rapace. Joe Roth, Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni are producing. Palak Patel, Eric McLeod and Alex Hedlund exec produce. Universal will distribute as part of its first-look deal with Legendary. David Koepp penned the script based on the Marcus Sakey novel that’s set in a world where 1% of the children born are savants (aka “brilliants”) with special powers. A federal agent who has become a master hunter of terrorists must track down a savant terrorist who intends to start civil war. Sakey’s novel was published by Thomas and Mercer, an imprint of Amazon, in August 2013. “Brilliance” is the first of a planned three-book series, with the second book being released today.
Variety reports that Will Smith and Noomi Rapace have officially signed on to co-star in Brilliance, which is being helmed by Nigerian director Julius Onah. Legendary Pictures is producing the thriller based on the novel from Marcus Sakey’s emerging trilogy. The second book in this series is set to hit stores later this year, and if Brilliance shines at the box office we can assume sequels – for which its stars are likely already contracted – will follow.
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.
Smith is set to star as Nick Cooper. At this point, Rapace’s role is unknown. If you’ve read the Brilliance novel, please share your guess at her casting in comments. We first got word of Brilliance back in early 2013, when Legendary Pictures acquired the novel’s movie rights months ahead of its summer release. Shortly thereafter, Legendary set celebrated (and highly paid) screenwriter David Koepp on the task of adapting the novel into a compelling screenplay. For an idea of what Legendary is hoping for, consider Koepp’s filmography, which boasts writing credits on Jurassic Park, Mission: Impossible and Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.
Brilliance will go into production this August. In the meantime, keep an eye out for Marcus Sakey’s other adaptation, Good People, which is expected to hit theaters later this year.