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Will Smith Attached to Modern Adaptation of Job

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | March 1, 2011 |

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | March 1, 2011 |

Will Smith hasn’t made a movie since before the 2008 presidential elections, arousing suspicions that he and Barack Obama are in fact the same person. A second, alternative theory, is that Will Smith is actually Hillary Clinton. In any case, the added executive branch access provided by Smith did allow Men in Black III to be filmed on location over the last year using actual aliens captured by the government.

For his next film, Smith has been attached to any number of projects, any of which may or may not have the slightest chance of being actually made, since “attached” is a code word for “both the movie’s and the actor’s names can be written using the same alphabet.” This latest one is a doozy though, it’s a modern adaptation of the biblical story of Job.

So in the original story, there’s this totally faithful guy named Job who is also super successful. Satan cooks up the plan of giving God crap for holding up Job as a poster boy since of course he likes God, God’s given him everything. This leads to the wager in which God systematically takes away everything from Job to prove that he will remain faithful. It’s a story that has resonated with biblical scholars for millennia precisely because it is so problematic from a religious point of view. While the human actors eloquently argue many of the different sides of the debate over the presence of injustice in the world, we are also treated to the troubling theological paradox that later scholars have referred to as “God being a dick.”

It’s a story that has been told over and over in various guises throughout literature, not the least of which was Heinlein’s take on the story in one of his final novels in 1984. So naturally, this is the description we get of the new film:

It’s a modern version of the story of Job. [Will Smith will] be playing “Joe.” The movie’s called Joe. It’s 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. What all of us get hit with in a lifetime, this man gets hit with in one week. And it’s about whether or not he can still pick himself up from that and survive it. It’s a dramedy. At it’s heart, it’s a comedy — but it’s got, obviously, a real dramatic core to it.

A dramedy? In order to win a bet with Satan, God murders Job’s children and then gives him skin boils just to top it off. I’m just not feeling the whole “dramedy” vibe here. The plot of the basic story is essentially emotional torture porn. Family? Gone. House? Gone. Everything you ever loved? Gone, one by one, fate pulling the legs off an insect. My guess is that the entire script is just “aw hell naw” printed over and over again.

(source: SlashFilm)

Steven Lloyd Wilson is the sci-fi and history editor. You can email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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