Will Smith Interested in Picking Up Some Flowers for Algernon?
by Ethan Anderton
November 9, 2009
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?