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WIRE Buzz: Will Smith's Brilliance adaptation; Wrinkles the Clown laughs up trailer; and more

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Sep 6, 2019

Another Friday is upon us, which means there's no better way to start your weekend than with this latest edition of WIRE Buzz!

In this roundup of genre development news, Will Smith gets "Brilliant" with Akiva Goldsman; a scary Florida clown gets the documentary treatment; and Sony Pictures Television scoops up the rights to a sci-fi novel with an Expanse alum at the helm.

Will Smith and Akiva Goldsman will be adapting Marcus Sakey's 2013 novel, Brilliance, into a feature film at Paramount Pictures, The Hollywood Reporter confirms. The sci-fi book, which spawned two sequels, is set in an alternate world where one percent of the population has been born with special abilities since 1980. These individuals are known as "Brilliants" and are monitored by the government, which has its own powered agent in the form of Nick Cooper — the role being held for Smith himself. Cooper is able to read the body language of others, allowing him to predict their next moves.

The two other books in the series are titled A Better World (2014) and Written in Fire (2016). At one point, the trilogy was in development as a film series at both Legendary and Universal. While Paramount eventually gained the rights, Smith has always been attached.

Brilliance front cover

Credit: Thomas & Mercer 

Smith and Goldsman's working relationship dates all the way back to 2004, when the latter co-wrote I, Robot. Since then, Goldsman has been involved with several other projects starring Smith — I Am Legend, Hancock, and Winter's Tale — in a writing or producing capacity.


Pennywise is back for more scares in It Chapter Two, but he's not the only bone-chilling clown bouncing around this Friday afternoon.

Most likely timed to coincide with the It sequel's theatrical release, Magnet Releasing dropped the first trailer for its documentary of Wrinkles the Clown, an oblivion-eyed horror in southwest Florida, whom parents can actually hire to scare the living daylights out of their misbehaving kids. Since 2014, Wrinkles has become something of an urban legend via the internet, gaining his own subgenre of YouTube videos.

Try not to scream when watching the trailer below:

Here's the official description from Magnet:

In late 2014, a low-res video of a person in a clown mask emerging from underneath a sleeping child's bed appears on YouTube. The description below the video claims that the clown is named "Wrinkles," that he lives in southwest Florida, and that he's been hired by the child's parents to frighten her for misbehaving. The video goes viral. Soon, more mysterious videos of Wrinkles scaring children appear online, along with a phone number to hire him for "behavioral services." Wrinkles becomes internet lore - a whole genre of YouTube videos of kids filming themselves calling him appears online, and over a million messages are left at the number. Voicemails range from disturbing to hilarious to terrifying: parents use the number to terrify their children, kids who are obsessive fans of creepy clowns reach out to make a new friend, children threaten to inflict wildly creative violence if he comes anywhere near them. But who is Wrinkles, and why is he doing this? With incredible access to the mastermind behind the mask, Wrinkles the Clown is a cryptic and playful exploration of these questions, as well as an inside look at myth-building and the unpredictable spread of imagination in the Internet age.

The documentary will premiere at Fantastic Fest in Austin later this month before hitting theaters and On Demand Friday, Oct. 4.


Sony Pictures Television just snatched up the rights to The City in the Middle of the Night, Charlie Jane Anders' acclaimed sci-fi novel from this past February, reports Deadline.

Set on a dying planet of two extremes, the book follows Sophie, an exiled radical/student, who, instead of dying, forms a relationship with the strange beasts of the frozen wasteland. "Sophie's ensuing odyssey and the ragtag family she finds will change the entire world," reads the official synopsis for the Tor publication. Things are just a bit more complicated than that, so head here for more information on the plot.

The City in the Middle of the Night front cover

Credit: Tor Books

The series adaptation is being developed by Mom de Guerre Productions, the company owned by Sharon Hall, who is no stranger to the world of genre, having served as a producer on The Expanse and Utopia. Hall is executive-producing alongside Nate Miller and Dan Halsted.

A co-founder and editor of io9, Anders is a two-time Hugo Award winner.


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