‘Tonight’ helmer ankles

'Happyness' director Muccino re-teaming with Smith

Just weeks after coming onboard Sony’s “Tonight, He Comes,” director Gabriele Muccino has gone.

Pic is still on course to shoot next year with Will Smith starring.

Muccino was hired after Jonathan Mostow ankled because of creative differences. Smith and Muccino had such a strong rapport on the recently completed “The Pursuit of Happyness” that the star was eager to reteam with the Italian helmer. Once the dust settled and Muccino got into the project, they decided that the story of a superhero in midlife crisis wasn’t for him, and the split was amicable.

Because Sony has Muccino prepping “Happyness” for December release, studio already pushed “Tonight, He Comes” from a summer start to early 2007. Warner Bros. used the open slot to accelerate the start of the Francis Lawrence-directed sci-fi pic “I Am Legend.”

So the studio, Smith and his fellow producers Michael Mann, Akiva Goldsman and James Lassiter have time to find the right filmmaker.

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