Will Smith to Star as N.Y.C. Crime Boss Nicky Barnes in Never-Before-Told Story for Netflix
The movie adds to Will Smith's packed schedule and re-teams him with Netflix after 2017's Bright
Will Smith is bringing the life of formerly-powerful crime boss Nicky Barnes to Netflix.
The actor is set to star as Barnes for the upcoming Netflix movie The Council, which tells the story of a crime syndicate comprised of seven African-American men who ran New York City’s Harlem borough in the ’70s and ’80s. The group dreamed of ruling Harlem as an independent African-America city-state funded by the illicit drug industry.
The Council teams Smith back up with Concussion director Peter Landesman, who pulls double duty as writer and executive producer.
Barnes’ story is unique in that it’s never been told on screen. The crime boss, born Leroy Nicholas Barnes, was arrested in 1978 and later became an informant against The Council, leading to its demise. He died in 2012 while under witness protection.
This is the second time Smith is partnering up with Netflix after 2017’s Bright, with a sequel recently delayed due to Smith’s packed schedule, according to costar Lucy Fry.
“We were going to do it this year, and then it didn’t happen because of Will’s schedule,” Fry told Comicbook.com. “And I really hope they do another one because I had so much fun making that movie. So, I just hope we get to do it again.”
Smith’s schedule includes a press tour for the highly anticipated Ang Lee movie Gemini Man, in which he plays both a present version and 25-year-old version of himself. He also recently wrapped filming Bad Boys 3 alongside Martin Lawrence, and the two are set to reunite for a future Bad Boys 4 as well.
Smith most recently appeared in Disney’s live-action remake of Aladdin, which became the highest-grossing movie of his career after it crossed $1 billion worldwide.
The achievement marks the first time director Guy Ritchie and Smith, have been in $1 billion club, despite such hits as Men in Black and Sherlock Holmes. The same goes for newcomers Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott, who played Aladdin and Princess Jasmine, respectively.
“To be in this game as long as I’ve been in this game, and to have my biggest movie at this point in my career, I just want to say thank you,” Smith said in a grateful Instagram post.