Gemini Man CinemaCon footage teases Oscar-winning director Ang Lee’s upcoming sci-fi drama. The project, which had been in development for a number of years before Lee came along, stars Will Smith in what should be one of his most fascinating and challenging roles yet. In Gemini Man, Smith plays 50-year old hitman Henry, who finds himself hunted by a younger clone of himself. The likes of Clive Owen, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and Benedict Wong round out the ensemble.
Over the course of his career, Lee’s made a name for himself by jumping from genre to genre, trying his hand at everything from an intimate romantic drama (Brokeback Mountain) to a war drama (Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk), to a spiritual tale of survival (Life of Pi). Even when Lee doesn’t quite hit the mark, his films still make for an interesting watch, so cinephiles were curious to see how Gemini Man turned out. Paramount has yet to unveil any official marketing materials, but they did screen the first bits of footage during CinemaCon.
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At their presentation today, the studio showcased a trailer for Gemini Man. It begins with the 25-year old Henry being questioned why it’s so hard for him to kill his target. The youngster explains that whoever he’s pursuing knows his every move and then would disappear like a ghost. 25-year old Henry then learns that he’s hunting an older version of himself. Dialogue from the older Henry explains Henry was chosen for this experiment because “there’s never been anybody like me.” Owen’s character Clay Verris tells the younger Henry that he has the older version’s gifts without the pain and that he should embrace his fear. After a couple of action shots, such as a car explosion and a machine gun fight, there’s a confrontation between the two Henrys where the older one asks why they sent the younger one on this mission.
The Gemini Man footage was screened in 3D for the crowd, and attendees remarked how visually stunning it looked (including the de-aging special effects on Smith). Lee has always been one to push the boundaries of technology (many considered Life of Pi to be unfilmable before he got his hands on it), so it isn’t surprising his technical prowess is on display once more. Of course, Lee has never been one to make hollow spectacle, and it sounds like Gemini Man will have plenty of substance to balance out the style. In a taped message from Smith, he praised the film for being “an exploration of the idea of what one’s younger self can teach their older self” and described it a a blend of “nuanced related characters and some crazy action.” Some people are already comparing Gemini Man to Rian Johnson’s Looper, which definitely sounds promising.
Smith has several impressive box office hits under his belt, but more recently his filmography hasn’t been the most inspiring. Works such as Focus, Concussion, and Collateral Beauty didn’t leave much of an impression, so Smith is most certainly due for a comeback role. Hopefully, Gemini Man fits that bill for him. Lee is a two-time Academy Award winner for Best Director and has a very solid track record, all things considered. On-paper, Gemini Man has the potential to be one of 2019’s most intriguing non-franchise offerings, so ideally the proper marketing campaign will generate more hype for it.
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