Festival of Books
Everything you need to know about the Festival of Books

Jared Leto in early talks to fill Will Smith void in 'Brilliance'

Oscar winner Jared Leto's first major role post-'Dallas Buyers Club' could be the lead in 'Brilliance'

The last time Jared Leto returned to the big screen, for what would be his Oscar-winning role in "Dallas Buyers Club," he hadn't acted in more than five years. Next time he may not wait so long.

Leto is in early talks to star in Julius Onah's "Brilliance," the Legendary Pictures adaptation of Marcus Sakey's sci-fi novel, according to a Deadline report.

"Brilliance," which has a script by David Koepp ("Jurassic Park," "Spider-Man"), is set in a world where a rare fraction of people are born with remarkable abilities and are known as "brilliants."

If Leto does indeed take on the role, he'll play a federal agent with a gift for tracking down bad guys who is sent after a terrorist with designs on civil war. Will Smith had been attached to the role but recently exited due to scheduling conflicts. Noomi Rapace ("The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo") is set to play the female lead.

Playing action hero in a Smith-size movie would mark an interesting change of pace for Leto, who has tended to gravitate toward gritty indie dramas like "Requiem for a Dream" and "Dallas."

Since being crowned an Oscar winner, Leto presumably has his pick of projects or can decide whether he wants to focus on his arena-touring rock band, 30 Seconds to Mars.

Amid his awards-season sweep this year, Leto joked at the Independent Spirit Awards that he was ready to perform a "reverse McConaissance," referring to "Dallas" costar Matthew McConaughey's transformation from rom-com hunk to critically acclaimed serious actor.

"Brilliance" is no romantic comedy, but it could be a mainstream entertainment of a scale unlike anything Leto has done before.

Follow @ogettell for movie news

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
  • Oscars 2014: The faces of Jared Leto
    Oscars 2014: The faces of Jared Leto

    For his performance as the transgender AIDS patient Rayon in "Dallas Buyers Club," Jared Leto essentially became a different person for 25 days. He dropped more than 30 pounds, adopted a lilting accent and stayed in character for the entirety of the shoot, clacking around in high heels, short skirts...

  • Tribeca 2015: George Lucas just wants to make experimental films
    Tribeca 2015: George Lucas just wants to make experimental films

    George Lucas has made known he’s put his “Star Wars” days behind him, and in a conversation Friday with Stephen Colbert at the Tribeca Film Festival, he made clear just how done with the franchise he really was—so done he’d like to spend his time making experimental films.