If you expected Jaden Smith to spend his entire career starring in feel-good movies like the Karate Kid, this will come as a bit of a shock. According to Deadline, Smith has signed a deal to star in an adaptation of The Good Lord Bird, alongside Liev Schreiber. In the movie, Smith will play a young slave named Henry “Onion” Shackleford who befriends abolitionist John Brown, played by Schreiber. According to the site:
Story is told with a satirical bent through the eyes of Onion, who wears a dress and is at first mistaken for a girl, as he bears witness to Brown’s historic campaign and encounters the likes of Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman en route to the bloody Harper’s Ferry raid that helped spark the Civil War.
This all sounds very unlike a member of the Smith family, but the movie is an adaptation of the critically-acclaimed book by James McBride. So despite Smith playing a cross-dressing slave, it sounds like The Good Lord Bird is going to have real gravitas to it. Fans of Smith’s more family friendly roles will take solace that he will also return for a Karate Kid sequel as well.