The Hollywood Reporter has announced that Michael Ealy (Sleeper Cell) has joined the cast of Seven Pounds. The film re-unites The Pursuit of Happyness director Gabriele Muccino with his star Will Smith in another 'weepie' drama. Sitcom writer Grant Nieporte (8 Simple Rules ... for Dating My Daughter) wrote the story about "a suicidal IRS agent (Smith) who sets out to make amends by assuming the identity of his younger brother. His plans get complicated when he inadvertently falls in love." Ealy has signed to play the younger brother, and judging by the storyline for the film, I have a feeling we'll mainly be seeing him in flashbacks.

Last December, Monika had brought us the news that Rosario Dawson had signed to star as Smith's love interest (marking another reunion, but this time for the Men in Black II co-stars) and Woody Harrelson as a motel manager that becomes increasingly involved with the suicidal Smith. Ealy has just finished work on Spike Lee's WWII drama, Miracle at St. Anna's, about a group of African-American soldiers who are trapped in Tuscany during a Nazi massacre.

There isn't much time for Ealy to switch gears since Pounds is expected to begin shooting this month. Pounds is scheduled to hit theaters in late 2008, which would appear to be just in time to keep Smith in the running for an Oscar nomination. As for Ealy, it looks like his career is on an upswing -- from starring in things like Fast and the Furious 2 and Never Die Alone to working with Will Smith and Spike Lee in just four short years is an achievement in anybody's book.

categories Cinematical