Some projects take years to go from script to screen, others take years. Few still can take decades, and sometimes what ends up onscreen is not worth the wait or effort. Sometimes it is. One such project is Gemini Man, initially pitched to Disney 20 years ago with the premise of an aging but still lethal hitman whose employers want him out of the picture but want to retain his skills. To solve the problem, they produce a clone 25 years younger and at the peak of his abilities to take him out. The original pitch was made by screenwriter Darren Lemke (Goosebumps, Jack the Giant Slayer) with Don Murphy (Transformers series) producing and Tony Scott (Man on Fire, Top Gun) directing. The idea was to have an older actor like Dennis Quaid or Harrison Ford portray the assassin and a younger actor like Chris O’Donnell to play the clone, but it was then decided to have an older actor digitally de-aged to also portray the clone. Studio execs loved the idea, but the project was put on indefinite hold until the technology had advanced enough for that to be done convincingly. Digital deaging is all the rave now, with films such as X-Men: The Last Stand, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, TRON: Legacy, Ant-Man and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales utilizing the effect, so the project is being resurrected.
According to THR, Skydance and Jerry Bruckheimer are developing the film with Ang Lee (Life of Pi, Hulk) in negotiations to direct. Additionally, Will Smith is in talks to assume the lead role. After his attempts to garner critical praise with projects like Seven Pounds, Concussion and Collateral Beauty were met with mixed reviews, Smith has been settling back into action blockbuster territory, albeit with a different edge to it. He’s played the antivillainous assassin Deadshot in Suicide Squad and is set to play an LAPD officer partnered with an Orc in a world where fantasy creatures are real in the Netflix Original film Bright. Something like Gemini Man would be right up his alley, but his current schedule may not prove willing to allow him to take the job. He’s reportedly being considered for the role of Genie in Disney’s live-action remake of Aladdin and has Bad Boys for Life on the horizon.
A plethora of screenwriters have been attached to this project, including: David Benioff (Game of Thrones, X-Men Origins: Wolverine), Jonathan Hensleigh (Next, The Punisher) as well as Christopher Wilkinson and Stephen J. Rivele (Birth of the Dragon, Ali), so it’s currently unknown which script they’ll end up using for this. It sounds like the studio is looking to fast track this, so check back for more information as it becomes available.