Universal has already sunk lots of money into the film American Gangster – both Denzel Washington and Benicio Del Toro had pay or play deals when they signed on to the film just before it imploded. That, of course, means that they got paid for doing diddly shit, which I am under the impression is a familiar situation for many of our daytime message board posters.
When they signed on the film was being directed by Terry George, who helmed Hotel Rwanda, and rumor had it that he would turn to his leading man from that movie for this one. Those rumors turned out to be true, and Cheadle is being courted for the project right now. George has been working to bring the budget of the film down (it’s already cost over 20 million dollars!), and once he has the script ready, an official offer will go to Cheadle.
The film is about Harlem heroin kingpin Frank Lucas, who got busted in the 70s and joined the good guys in the fight to keep illegal narcotics out of the country so that Big Tobacco and Liquor could have free reign.