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About The Filmmaking Team
In 2006, with The Pursuit of Happyness, director Gabriele Muccino and star Will Smith happened upon on an extraordinary story – that of a homeless father who courageously rebuilds his life, becoming a corporate success on nothing but grit, love and hope. The film would go on to become a major hit and to garner widespread acclaim and honors, drawing both Academy Award® and Golden Globe® nominations for Smith's deeply affecting performance. 

Now, the alchemy of another original, emotional, thought-provoking story brings the pair together again for this year's Seven Pounds, a provocative love story between Ben Thomas, a man preparing to do something extraordinary for seven strangers, and Emily Posa, one of those strangers, whose life-changing effect on him was never part of the plan. The draw for both director and star was the chance to create a different kind of screen love story, one which is not just about an unpredictable and deep romance but about the greater redemptive power of selfless love. 

"I was drawn to the story because it's about a very mysterious journey that is itself a declaration of love,” says Muccino. "To me, it's about a man who is gripped by loss and gets an unexpected chance to have a newfound experience of life. It's a challenging, unsettling, moving story with an incredible amount of emotion. And the exchange of ideas and exchanges of inspirations that has been so incredibly powerful in this movie could only have happened with Will Smith.”

Smith feels similarly. "I was blown away conceptually by the script,” he says, "and by its ideas about finding purpose, about the powerful necessity to attach meaning to our lives. It's an incredible modern love story I don't think we've seen before. And this team led by Gabriele has such powerful insight into human emotion – they know how to find it and nurture it. I felt that when you put all that together, and add in people like Rosario Dawson and Woody Harrelson, it would be a real recipe for success.”

Smith continues: "For me, it was also another chance to tell a story about this same central human idea that continues to fascinate me: how do we as humans overcome great trauma? How do we go on when everything goes wrong? In that vein, Seven Pounds is a redemptive story, and one that also has a truly unexpected ending.” 

Screenwriter Grant Nieporte notes that he sees Ben's urgent quest for personal redemption as something more – as a highly unconventional love story that broadens his horizons far beyond what he ever expected. 

"The story began for me as a mystery but it became a back door into a love story that's as unexpected for the audience as it is for Ben,” Nieporte says. "Ben's only focus is trying to find good, decent people to help, but in the process he starts to find himself in a place he never imagined happening: being charmed and getting drawn out by and having very strong emotions for Emily. He thinks he is essentially dead to the world, and then he meets her and nothing is the same. I love that when he finally finds this very unusual woman who can bring him back to life, who can open his heart, he has to make a very difficult decision that brings his story full circle.” 

When producers Jason Blumenthal, Todd Black and Steve Tisch of Escape Artists – who also produced The Pursuit of Happyness -- came across Nieporte's script, it stood out as that rare thing in today's Hollywood: a story they'd never before encountered. Blumenthal recalls, "The minute I read the script, I knew we had something very special. It was unlike anything I had ever read, unlike anything I'd ever seen. I loved that that the deep mystery of it evolves and unfolds before your very eyes. It starts off with an IRS agent who is doing something that most people watching this movie will find foreign—he is actively seeking

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