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Will Smith Taps Denzel Washington To Star In Katrina Drama "The American Can"

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act June 29, 2011 at 2:27AM

One of the dozens on projects on Will Smith's future slate... a film initially announced almost exactly 2 years ago, in May 2009, when Sony Pictures and Smith's Overbrook Entertainment picked up the movie rights to the story of an ex-Marine who orchestrated the rescue of hundreds of his neighbors during the Hurricane Katrina disaster.
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One of the dozens on projects on Will Smith's future slate... a film initially announced almost exactly 2 years ago, in May 2009, when Sony Pictures and Smith's Overbrook Entertainment picked up the movie rights to the story of an ex-Marine who orchestrated the rescue of hundreds of his neighbors during the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

John Lee Hancock was to write and direct the project, titled The American Can.

Standing at 6-ft-seven and 260 pounds, John Keller, the ex-Marine, lived in a five-story apartment building; and after chasing some looters, emerged as the man in charge of the 244 residents, many of them elderly or handicapped.

For five days, Keller, dubbed the "Can Man," kept the building, isolated by 11 feet of water, safe from the chaos raging around the city. He also directed the eventual rescue operation from the building's roof.

At the time of the initial announcement, I fully expected Will Smith to star in the film, although it wasn't stated.

2 years later, New York Magazine's Vulture is reporting today that Big Willie will instead be working behind the camera this time around, with an offer to Denzel Washington to star instead.

Obviously, the lead character will be aged to accommodate Denzel, who's in his 50s (Keller is closer to Will Smith's age); also, Denzel isn't 6-ft-7 and 260 pounds, but I suppose that can be worked around in the script.

Vulture says that Washington is chatting with Will and Sony Pictures about taking over the lead, with a final decision forthcoming, so stay tuned.

This article is related to: casting, Things That Make You Go Hmm...


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