Barring a Screen Actors Guild strike Will Smith might go from being a Man in Black to the
Man in Black in an upcoming film Oscar-winning director Steven Spielberg is planning to do on the Chicago 7.
Smith has been pegged to play Black Panther Party co-founder Bobby Seale in this true-life story about the trial of Seale, Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin and others who were charged with conspiracy, inciting to riot and various other charges in connection to the riots that took place at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago. At this point the project is rumored to be on hold but Seale wants Mr. Smith to holla.
"I definitely need to talk to him," Seale, who co-founded the Panthers with Huey Newton, told me a few weeks ago. Seale, who had minimal participation with the "Chicago 10" movie that premiered at Sundance last year, was not particularly happy with that project and wants the real story told. He's currently working on a book about that experience. Seale, who was tried separately from the other defendants, defended himself and was subsequently sentenced to four years in jail for contempt of court.
Carl Lumbly played Seale in an HBO version of this trial, "Conspiracy: The Trial of the Chicago 8."
In other Smith news, Francis Lawrence, director of "I Am Legend," announced over the weekend at Comic-Con in San Diego that there will be a prequel to that film and that Smith's character, Dr. Robert Neville, would be a part of it. He's hoping Smith will be available.
Smith can next be seen in December's "Seven Pounds," a film about a man who changes the lives of seven strangers. Smith's costars include: Rosario Dawson, Woody Harrelson and Michael Ealy.