Anyone who was looking forward to the upcoming science fiction thriller ‘Brilliance’ which was set to star Will Smith (‘After Earth‘, ‘Men in Black III’) and Noomi Rapace (‘Prometheus‘, ‘Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows’) may be disappointed to hear that Smith has just declined the role.

The film is based upon the first book of the ‘Brillance’ series written by Marcus Sakey and the film is hoped to be the beginning of a new franchise for Legendary Pictures which has already seen some success with ‘Godzilla’ and ‘Gravity. Legendary is also the studio that is releasing Tom Cruise’s ‘Edge of Tomorrow’. If you’re not familiar with the novel, here’s a synopsis:

In Wyoming, a little girl reads people’s darkest secrets by the way they fold their arms. In New York, a man sensing patterns in the stock market racks up $300 billion. In Chicago, a woman can go invisible by being where no one is looking. They’re called “brilliants,” and since 1980, one percent of people have been born this way. Nick Cooper is among them; a federal agent, Cooper has gifts rendering him exceptional at hunting terrorists. His latest target may be the most dangerous man alive, a brilliant drenched in blood and intent on provoking civil war. But to catch him, Cooper will have to violate everything he believes in—and betray his own kind.

This movie felt like a rif on the mutants of ‘X-Men.’ In the film, 1% of the children born are savants, or “brilliants,” with special powers. Now looks as if Smith is no longer going to be among them. Smith was to play the federal agent, Nick Cooper, who was not only a master hunter but also a “Brilliant.’ This could put a dent into production for the film which is set to begin this summer so the studio is clearly going to be scrambling to find a new lead.

Even with the lead role unfilled, sources say the script, written by David Koepp (‘Spider-Man’, ‘Jurassic Park’), is apparently solid and director Julius Onah (‘The Girl Is in Trouble ‘) is still pushing ahead to get the film out on time. This isn’t the first time Smith has recently passed on a science fiction film having decided to not return for Independence Day 2 or Men in Black 4.

It doesn’t sound like the choice for leaving ‘Brillance’ was something against the genre itself. His reason for leaving did not seem to be from bad blood or issues with the script as the “exit came down to timing”. Apparently, with the film’s production start date having moved around a few times, it no longer worked with Smith’s schedule which is a fair enough reason.

Are you excited to still see ‘Brilliance’ move forward? Do you think they have a solid plot? Who would you like to see take the lead role that Smith just vacated?

Sources: Deadline