Jared Leto in early talks to fill Will Smith void in ‘Brilliance’

Jared Leto, pictured at the iHeartRadio Music Awards last month in Los Angeles, reportedly is in talks to star in the film adaptation of a Marcus Sakey sci-fi novel.
(Jordan Strauss / Invision / AP)

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.

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