I may have initially hated Miami Vice, but it might be time to take another look. Especially because it's taking Michael Mann a long time to make a follow-up (though it's normal for him to take a few years between films). Lately he's been concentrating on producing, overseeing such pics as The Kingdom, which is currently in theaters, and the upcoming Hancock, which stars Will Smith. According to Variety, though, Mann has found a project that he's interested in directing next year, and it's to be another vehicle for Smith, who Mann previously directed to an Oscar nom in Ali. The drama, titled Empire, will also reunite Mann with screenwriter John Logan, with whom he worked, as a producer, on The Aviator. The plot involves a "contemporary global media mogul."

Other than that job title for (I'm assuming) Smith's character, little is known. But with such a great team involved, I don't think we need to worry. They're all very talented and respected (even if Logan did write the recent version of The Time Machine), Columbia apparently dished out at least a million bucks for the must-be-amazing pitch and I trust that Mann will not disappoint me again in the future. Something about this project -- perhaps the hint of corporate and media dealings -- makes me think it will be most in line with Mann's The Insider, which I think is his best film, even though it doesn't have a lot of action nor does it have Pacino and DeNiro face to face. Empire also won't feature classic Hollywood icons, like the film noir Mann and Logan were recently said to be making, but with that in mind, I think I'm anticipating this new project on less-kitschy grounds. Meanwhile, I'm also hoping that Smith make this a priority over Seven Pounds, his presumed next film (following Hancock) that returns him to the care of Pursuit of Happyness director Gabriele Muccino. I guess it all could come down to which film Smith thinks offers him a better chance at another Oscar nom for 2009.