Oscar-nominated filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan is developing a super-secret sci-fi project titled "One Thousand A.E." at Will Smith's Overbrook Entertainment as a potential starring vehicle for "The Karate Kid" star Jaden Smith, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
In an unusual departure for Shyamalan, he'll be working from a screenplay by Gary Whitta ("The Book of Eli") instead of writing the script himself. While Shyamalan's most recent film, "The Last Airbender," was critically lambasted, it nevertheless took in $315 million worldwide, including $131 million at the domestic box office, making it the director's third-highest grossing movie in the U.S.
While plot details are being kept firmly under wraps, the story does feature a lead role for an adult male, though THR reports that Will Smith will only produce.
"One Thousand A.E." isn't set up at a studio, but Overbrook has a first-look deal with Sony, so don't be surprised if the project winds up there. After all, who would turn down the potentially winning combination of Shyamalan and Will Smith?
Shyamalan spent the summer shopping around another top-secret untitled project, which reportedly had Bruce Willis, Bradley Cooper and Gwyneth Paltrow loosely attached, but the project was quietly shelved after it failed to find a buyer.
I really enjoyed "The Book of Eli" (which quietly grossed an impressive $157 million worldwide) and look forward to seeing what else Whitta has up his sleeve. His supernatural thriller "Undying" is currently in development at Media 8 with Kurt Russell set to star.
Shyamalan is represented by CAA, while Whitta is repped by UTA and Circle of Confusion.