Photo Credit: Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage
Will Smith would like to take a moment to remind you all that, in addition to being the #1 star in Hollywood, he is also a Serious Actor. At least, that's the hint we're getting from his newly announced project: He'll be producing and taking a lead role in a film adaptation of Flowers for Algernon.
For those of you who didn't read it in middle school English class, Flowers for Algernon is a heartbreaking short-story-turned-novel, about a mentally disabled man who undergoes an experimental (fictional) treatment to increase his IQ. The experiment at first succeeds, as his intelligence peaks to superhuman levels -- but soon a fatal flaw causes everything to fall apart.
The role of Charlie would be a tour-de-force for any actor, and indeed, Cliff Robertson won the Academy Award for best actor for playing the role in a 1968 adaptation called Charly.
Smith has already been nominated twice for that leading actor Oscar, for 2001's Ali and 2006's The Pursuit of Happyness. Is Flowers for Algernon the awards vehicle he's been waiting for? For better or worse, the Academy has a reputation for granting statuettes to actors playing the mentally disabled: Sean Penn in I Am Sam, Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man and Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump all come to mind.
Or maybe Smith just likes a challenge. His starring first film role, after all, was of the serious-drama variety, playing a tragic con artist in 1993's Six Degrees of Separation.
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