We’re sad to see Genera+ion go, but we’re excited about what’s next for Justice Smith.
After coming out as queer last year, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Detective Pikachu actor Justice Smith has become focused on representing black men and queer black men alike. In fact, he directly expressed this interest in an April interview with Pride Source.
“I find that the most radical protest is unapologetic self-love and self-acceptance,” he shared. “There’s so much leading I can do by example by putting my face on screen, so that young Black and bi-racial boys can see themselves represented. [That] is unfortunately radical. It shouldn’t be a radical thing, just my existence, but it is.”
He then added, “And the fact that I can utilize it and be like, ‘Well then, I’m going to represent myself and people who look like me and people who love like me and make them feel less alone.’ That is, I realize, my greatest power in all this. I’m just doing what I love. You know, acting is what I love to do. It’s what I always set out to do. And I just happen to exist in a Black, Queer body.”
One major example of this was his part in the HBO Max dramedy Genera+ion. The show was meant to be an honest depiction of Generation Z through the eyes of a teen co-creator/writer. Then-18-year-old Zelda Barnz served as co-showrunner with one of her dads, Daniel Barnz, while her other dad, Ben Barnz, executive produced the show. In it, Justice Smith played Chester who was a star water polo player, a charismatic and social figure in his school, and an openly gay student who often wore crop tops.
But, unfortunately, Genera+ion failed to get a second season renewal. HBO Max announced on Tuesday, September 14, that the teen dramedy had been canceled.
“We will not be moving forward with a second season of Genera+ion,” a spokesperson for the streaming platform said in a statement. “We are very proud to have partnered with Zelda and Daniel Barnz to faithfully and authentically represent LGBTQ youth with such a diverse group of characters and layered stories. We thank them and our wonderfully gifted cast for all their hard work and collaboration.”
So, what’s next for Justice Smith? Thankfully, a lot. Currently, the actor is celebrating the arrival of Michael Mohan’s The Voyeurs on Amazon Prime Video. In the erotic thriller, Smith acts opposite Sydney Sweeney. The story is about a young, happy couple moving into a city apartment. On their first night, they realize they can see into their attractive neighbors’ (Ben Hardy and Natasha Bordizzo) apartment across the street. But what started as a sexy change of pace quickly turned into something horrific.
But that’s not all. Justice Smith has several other projects in the future. For instance, he has signed on for Jurassic Park: Dominion. Smith will return in 2022 to the juggernaut franchise as Franklin Webb, a systems analyst on the Dinosaur Protection Group. Formerly passive in nature, Webb was seen at the end of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom with newfound confidence. And with early reports of Dominion calling it “An Indiana Jones Dinosaur Movie,” we can’t wait to see Smith in the flick.
But that’s not the only interesting big-budget movie in the works. As reported back in February, Justice Smith has also signed on for a role in the new Dungeons & Dragons film. Smith isn’t the only star connected to the project too. He’ll be joining Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Regé-Jean Page, Hugh Grant, and Sophia Lillis. Plus, directing/writing team Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley lead the movie, which will be a comedy much like their 2018 flick Game Night.
“[Goldstein and Daley are] incredible,” Justice Smith recently told Collider. They’re so funny and they have such clear vision. I loved Game Night. That movie is so good and so funny. And it’s such a clear, specific story. It doesn’t try and be anything that it’s not. I think they approached this the same way. I can’t spoil too much but it’s action-packed, thrilling, funny as hell… it’s all of the things and yet it has a clear idea. That specificity is key in storytelling and John and Jonathan do that so well, being like, ‘This is the story we’re telling but they’re making it enjoyable the entire time.’ This is me not trying to spoil the movie in any regards. I’ve given away no details.”
On top of that, Justice Smith is currently filming an Apple Original Films and A24 project called Sharper. The film centers around a group of con artists played by Sebastian Stan, Julianne Moore, Justice Smith, and Briana Middleton. The movie is being directed by Emmy and BAFTA nominee Benjamin Caron and is based on a 2020 Black List screenplay from Brian Gatewood and Alessandro Tanaka. Filming for the project just began on September 13 in New York City and the film has yet to get a release date.
Lastly, Deadline recently reported that a package starring Justice Smith, Idris Elba, and Taylour Paige was purchased at the Toronto Film Market. The film, titled We All Die Young and written by Hamilton’s Daveed Diggs and Chinaka Hodge, centers around a young rapper at a breaking point in both his career and his mental health.
“The film follows a rapper who reaches the ripe old age of 25, which in rap years, if you ask any of us who participate in the culture, starts to feel like you’re entering a different era,” Diggs told Deadline. “He’s had regional success but when we meet him he’s on the verge of his big crossover hit and is going to become a bona fide superstar. The life he’s leading is at odds with everything he grew up living. There is a cognitive dissonance between where you grew up and where you find yourself and you start to wonder why and how you got to this place. It’s not unique to rappers, but when you talk to these young kids who are blowing up real fast, you start to recognize this is the dilemma they deal with: how to speak to the culture they come from, living the life they’re living.”
So, it seems that Justice Smith is staying busy. Despite the unfortunate cancelation of Genera+ion, Justice Smith will stay on our screens for some time. Having an openly queer Black man thriving like this is exciting to see. And we hope to keep seeing it for many more years to come.