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Will Smith Brings Little-Known Hurricane Katrina Story To Life

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences' Governors Awards - Arrivals

While time has passed since the devastating blow of Hurricane Katrina, we as Americans are still realizing the effects and hearing some of the stories of survival during those harrowing weeks. One of these stories is finally getting to be shared with the masses thanks to Will Smith and Overbrook Entertainment.

Initially announced 4 years ago, in May 2009, American Can is the story of an ex-Marine who orchestrated the rescue of hundreds of his neighbors during the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

Standing at six-foot, seven-inches 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, man fully expected Will Smith to star in the film, although it wasn’t stated. 2 years later, in 2011, it was reported that Big Willie would instead be working behind the camera this time around, with an offer to Denzel Washington to star instead. However, skip ahead another 2 years to today, to the announcement by Deadline that Will Smith is back in the lead role.

American Can is due out in 2014, nearly 10 years since the South was ravaged by the storm and subsequent failures. But with this story, hopefully, viewers will recognize the power of one person and the triumph that occurred through tragedy.

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