It looks like Jared Leto may have found the follow-up to his Oscar-winning role in last year’s Dallas Buyer’s Club. According to multiple sources, Leto is in early talks to replace Will Smith in the sci-fi thriller Brilliance, based on the novel by Marcus Sakey. Noomi Rapace (Prometheus) is also on board to star, with young Nigerian filmmaker Julius Onah (The Girl Is in Trouble) directing. Smith was forced to vacate the role recently due to scheduling conflicts.
The story is set in an alternate reality where a rare set of people known as “brilliants” are born with extraordinary abilities. Leto would play a gifted federal agent charged with hunting down a brilliant before a civil war erupts. Legendary Pictures – which is known for big franchise movies like Godzilla, Pacific Rim, and Man of Steel – is producing the movie with screenwriter David Koepp – who is no stranger himself to franchises, having penned Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, Indiana Jones 4, and Jurassic Park, among others – adapting the novel. The follow-up novel, and second in the planned trilogy, A Better World, was actually released today.
Leto, who before his Oscar win was perhaps best known for his performance in Darren Aronofsky’s Requiem for a Dream, is known for being extremely selective in choosing which acting roles to take. After playing infamous John Lennon assassin Mark David Chapman in the 2007 independent film Chapter 27, Leto left Hollywood for six years to pursue other interests. Chief among those interests was his band Thirty Seconds to Mars, with whom he still actively tours in between movie projects.