Will Smith On For Winter's Tale

Russell Crowe also aboard...

Now that he’s seemingly got more time on his hands thanks to Universal pulling the plug on the Dark Tower adaptation, writer/producer Akiva Goldsman has turned his attention fully back to work on his directorial debut, Winter’s Tale. And, according to Vulture, he’s pulled off something of a coup, nabbing Will Smith and Russell Crowe to play supporting roles.

It would appear that he needs the big name support, as Goldsman has had real trouble getting the thing moving at Warner Bros. He’s been slowly pushing to make the movie for years now, adapting Mark Helprin’s 1983 novel into something once budgeted at around $75 million, but now closer to $50 million.

We can see why Warners might have had chilly feet on the idea; it’s not the simplest plot to convert to a movie, featuring an orphaned Irish burglar, the dying girl he meets in a posh New York apartment, and the mob boss who wants the thief dead. Oh, and there’s also a flying horse, street gangs, vision quests and a story set in both 19th century and modern day Manhattan.

But if Goldsman really has landed Crowe (as mob boss Pearly Soames) and Smith (as a judge), it no doubt helped the purse strings loosen up. And when it comes to finding stars willing to show up, it’s useful if you’ve helped them get nominated for an Oscar (Crowe) or win at the box office (Smith). Now he’ll need to lock in someone to play the leads. But who wouldn’t want to work for one of the men behind A Beautiful Mind? As long as they forget he also wrote Lost In Space and Batman And Robin. And produced Jonah Hex. And...