Apparently, Will Smith hasn’t been in movies in a couple years. If you hadn’t noticed, it’s probably because you aren’t counting down the days to Men in Black 3: Aliens Still Exist. So yeah, you’re like everyone else in the world. I guess that Smith apparently has been focusing on making music or whatever you want to call that stuff. Yep, he still makes music (you know that song you hate? It’s by his daughter).
Did you miss me?
Smith is apparently going to come out of retirement, or whatever he has been doing, and be in a movie written by the same guys who wrote The Fighter, described in an interview with the writers as being “about a man [who is living] the American dream. He’s got the nice house, white picket fence, great kids, great wife, nice cars. God and the devil get together every thousand years to bet on a man’s life, and the fate of the world is at stake.”
Now, the main problem with this idea is that the Coen Brothers made that exact idea into a movie called A Serious Man. Very recently. (As in, it’s the last film they made before True Grit.) A Serious Man is the Book of Job updated to Minnesota in the 1960s, about a guy living in the suburbs with what would be a great life if it weren’t completely falling apart around him.
Apparently, the problem with that film was that no one was clearly telling the audience: “This is the book of Job. Seriously. Get it? It’s exactly like it.” So because the Coen Brothers were a little too subtle there (you know, with the tornadoes and temptresses and bribes, it just wasn’t clear enough), Will Smith is going to play Joe in a modern re-telling of Job. Yep, Joe. Probably because they don’t want audiences confusing Job from the Bible with Gob Bluth.
However, there are rumors that David O. Russell will be involved (I’ll save you a trip to IMDB; he directed The Fighter). That, and this whole idea is coming from the writers of The Fighter. Which means that this should be a really intense masterpiece, if done right.
The good news is that Bale, while not being connected to this project yet, is an obvious shoo-in for a major role in the film because a) he has worked with the writers and director before, for which he earned an Academy Award, and b) he is no stranger to Biblical films. Unfortunately, his only experience with Bible stories so far is playing Jesus in a made-for-TV movie that no one has ever seen (although it is on my to-do list).
This is not a photoshop masterpiece. It’s from something Bale actually did.
Bale is also the right man for the job when making a film that does not need to be made, especially when said film has a very similar theme and concept to another film that came out shortly before it. If you need proof, consider this: he starred in The Prestige, which involves magic, murder, rivalries, and is set in the late 1800s. The film was released two months after The Illusionist, which also involved magic, murder, rivalries, and the late 1800s. And The Prestige is undoubtedly the better film.
The question is: what should Bale do in Joe?
There are few characters in the original story of Job. They are: Job (who is already cast as Will Smith,) Job’s kids, Job’s servants, Job’s wife, and Job’s friends. Also, God and Satan. The story is basically that God lets Satan kill everyone except for Job and his friends, and then Job argues with his friends about whether or not he should start hating God. At the end, God says “good job” to Job and yells at Job’s friends. Then Job has a new family and dies at the age of 140.
Obviously, Joe will be different. What The Fighter team need to do is get Bale involved, and cast him as Satan. The reasons are obvious. For starters, the book of Job is the only book of the Bible in which Satan actually kills people. This is a commonly-stated internet statistic, but it’s straight out of the Bible: Satan’s Biblical death count is entirely due to God giving him permission to destroy Job’s life, after which Satan killed all of Job’s servants and his ten children. It’s unclear how many servants he killed, but there were a few.
Who better to commit Satan’s only murders other than the actor who chased women with a chainsaw (in only his underwear and tennis shoes), tied the Langsford-Double that caused a woman to drown in front of a full theater, committed a racially-motivated murder in Shaft, and killed 118 people in Equilibrium? (The Equilibrium statistic is especially significant, as, according to the internet, that’s the third highest body count ever racked up by one character.)
Equilibrium. If you haven’t seen it, then you really don’t know what Bale is capable of.
It would be quite fitting for Bale to play Satan when Satan kills his only documented victims. It would also be a true powerhouse performance, as The Fighter team just got Bale a best supporting actor trophy, and Satan is playing second fiddle to Job throughout the entire story.
As for the role of God, it would be good to cast Morgan Freeman, but then everyone might think this is another Bruce Almighty spin-off. God is a tough character to cast. Many good actors have attempted to do God justice and failed or succeeded to various degrees, including Whoopi Goldberg, Billy Dee Williams, Charleton Heston, Graham Chapman’s voice, Trey Parker’s voice, and Ross’s dad from Friends.
You probably shouldn’t make movies with God in them, so you’re not competing with this guy.
The best option is probably for Bale to play both Satan and God. He’s already excellent at portraying characters with a dual nature, from Bruce Wayne to Alfred and Freddy Borden.
Or they could just say “whatever” and cast Morgan Freeman as God, Samuel L. Jackson as Satan, call it Job Almighty and make it the conclusion to a trilogy you don’t care about.
NOTE: I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the body count for Equilibrium. The movie body-counting site lists Bruce Wayne as killing six people in The Dark Knight, when in fact he took the heat for six deaths but didn’t actually kill anyone. This might mean that John Preston and his crazy killing skills did not eliminate 118 people, but it doesn’t change the fact that tons of people were slain by Bale in Equilibrium.