Will Smith Up For The City That Sailed

Whimsical drama from Francis Lawrence

Will Smith is set to reteam with his I Am Legend director, Francis Lawrence, on The City That Sailed.

Thankfully there’ll be no appalling, movie-souring CG mutants this time, but as with their Richard Matheson adaptation, the island of Manhattan will play a major part: this time, by breaking away from the United States and floating away across the Atlantic.

No, it’s not a disaster movie (although we’re sure Roland Emmerich is kicking himself for not thinking of that first), but a whimsical fantasy about a New York street magician (Smith) whose daughter lives thousands of miles away, in England.

When she finds a room full of magic candles in a lighthouse (just go with it, it’s that kind of movie), the little girl wishes that her dad could be with her – and rather than stump up for a couple of plane tickets, or even a handy teleportation device for Smith, the candle’s magic power causes Manhattan to go on a little trip…

The film is written by Andrew Niccol, who has dabbled with the high-concept throughout his career (he wrote The Truman Show and S1m0ne), and had been kicking around at Fox since 2006 until Lawrence and Smith got their hands on it.

And it sounds promising. As flawed as the last half of I Am Legend was, the first part carried an emotional depth rare for a blockbuster, while his visuals are mightily impressive. And this should be the type of warm and fuzzy material that Smith can do in his sleep.

But don’t get too carried away: the project is merely in development for Lawrence to direct. It’s more likely that his next film will actually be either The World Without Us, or Water For Elephants. We’ll keep you posted.