Smith winds up in Asimov adaptation with Proyas

Fox has wired Will Smith to star in sci-fier “I, Robot.”

Shooting is to begin in April. Alex Proyas will direct the film, which will be produced by Laurence Mark and John Davis, with Wyck Godfrey and Topher Dow exec producing.

Pic will be an adaptation of the 1940s Isaac Asimov short-story collection that set the groundwork for robot films ranging from “The Terminator” to “A.I.”

The original “I, Robot” contained nine short stories that Asimov wrote for various magazines throughout the 1940s, brought together thematically by the author’s three laws of robotics. Those laws hold that a robot may not injure a human or, through inaction, allow a human to come to harm; a robot must obey orders given to it by a human, except where it would conflict with the first law; and a robot must protect itself, as long as that protection doesn’t violate either the first or second law.

The movie is a futuristic thriller in which a detective investigates a crime that might have been perpetrated by a robot, even though that seems an impossibility given those three prevailing rules.

“The big idea here is that if the robots have found a way to violate the laws, there is nothing to stop them from taking over, because the human race is so dependent on robots and automation, said 20th film president Hutch Parker, who’s shepherding the film with Emma Watts.

Smith has flourished in sci-fi with the “Men in Black” films and his Fox foray in the genre, “Independence Day,” one of the studio’s biggest ever films.

“Putting him in a film with a visualist like Proyas and one of the most indelible preawareness titles in science fiction makes this well worth the five or so years we’ve invested in the project,” Parker added.

The project originated as “Hardwired,” a futuristic script by Jeff Vintar that was amalgamated with elements of “I, Robot” when Fox bought rights to Asimov’s landmark book. Subsequent drafts of the script have been done by Hillary Seitz (“Insomnia”) and “A Beautiful Mind” scribe Akiva Goldsman, who wrote the last draft and is expected to be a prevailing presence on the pic.

Proyas, whose last large-canvas projects were “Dark City” and “The Crow,” most recently directed the comparatively tiny “Garage Days.”

Smith is repped by CAA.

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