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Will Smith Interested in Picking Up Some Flowers for Algernon?

by
November 9, 2009

Will Smith

We've seen Will Smith fight aggressive aliens, infectious bloodthirsty humans, and self-righteous robots, but when all is said and done, it's really awe inspiring to see him put away the guns and "Aw, hell no!" attitude when he buckles down for a serious drama. So it pleases me to see that Pajiba has a scoop about Will Smith taking on the lead role (as well as producing) a contemporary adaptation of the Daniel Keyes' short story and subsequent novel Flowers for Algernon, the story of Charlie, a mentally challenged man, who is the first human test subject for an experimental surgery that artificially increases intelligence.

After a successful experiment on the titular lab mouse Algernon, the surgery is then applied to Charlie, raising his IQ from 68 to 185. But his newfound intelligence comes at the cost of his ability to socialize normally as he becomes alienated from those who are of inferior intelligence.  All the more staggering are the results of the experimental treatment as time passes and Algernon's intelligence begins to deteriorate until his untimely death. The story itself is told in the form of Charlie's progress reports that he writes as part of monitoring the experiment, and in his writing we become aware of his increased cognitive skills.

The story has been adapted several times before including as Ralph Nelson’s Charly, which won Cliff Robertson an Academy Award in 1969, and most recently a made-fo-TV movie starring Matthew Modine in 2000. While this project seems right up Smith's alley after his award-winning performances in dramas like Ali, The Pursuit of Happyness and Seven Pounds, he's a busy guy with no less than some 25 projects in development that he's attached to including several recently announced sequels currently being written. It could be years before he gets to this project, and until we get any confirmation, we have no idea when this will get off the ground. We'll keep our eyes peeled for any further developments though. Sound good?

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  • Al
    I personally love the Cliff Robertson version. Although I'm not against a remake. Will Smith always struck me as a great actor, but he's way to well known for this to work. I picture the entire theater laughing (not that I will) the minute he opens his mouth.
  • tazz
    its good to see Will Smith doing more drama good on him. i wonder what happening with that Will Smith project "Last Pharaoh"
  • Sabes
    I remember reading the story. Sad. Will Smith has been impressing me over the years, so I think he'll do good.
  • Caitie
    Yes I think he could do this well maybe this will be the moment he gets his oscar, I think a lot of us would agree he's long over due for one...
  • Brad
    I'll agree that he's a good actor, but he always seems to get involved in bad projects. I hope this one is good. I remember the original and loved it. I haven't seen it in a long time though.
  • ObiWop
    Like Robert Downey said in Tropic Thunder, I hope he doesn't go full retard.
  • Bucker
    just so everyone's aware, the word 'retard' is an incredibly offensive word. Alex, instead of saying "mentally retarded", the two most accepted terms are "mentally challenged" or "intellectually delayed". the term 'retard' was an accepted back in the 60's, and unfortunately has stuck around. this word the the equivalent of the "N" word in the special needs community.
  • Seductive Flamingo
    I agree with #5.
  • Fc
    Ah, Flowers for Algernon. soo sad. Another tearjerker. for sure.
  • Tra la la la la di da
    I love this book so much! I do think it's funny that they claim 185 is so hard and makes socializing difficult when he's smart, but he still has to be taught to learn. Anyhow...I'm rambling, this could be great and Will Smith is a great serious actor so I look forward to it.
  • that guy
    I cried like a bitch when I read that book.
  • Daniel
    I can see him doing it. He is great as an idiot and a genius at the same time. :)
  • Jayc
    If i'm not mistaken Will Smith has allready has had a similar role as a mentally chalenged individual some time back in the 80's. I have no doubt this will be a success as it is familiar ground for him.
  • Frank N. Stein
    Uh-Buh. Moley Moley Moley Moley... Definitely a good driver...Wapner's on at 5.
  • Fed Up With Hollywood
    No! Just freakin' NO! No more remakes! I say we take off and nuke Hollywood from orbit. It's the only way to be sure...
  • Mutter
    #15 Agreed. You would think they are completely unaware that there have been books, scripts, and stories written that have not been made into movies. If something was done badly, and had great source material, then they should possibly think about it (such as everything written by Hp Lovecraft). It almost reminds me of film colorization, unesscesary and strictly for more profit.

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