Originally set to star Denzel Washington, "American Gangster" will most likely go into production with Don Cheadle ("Hotel Rwanda") in the lead role. Screenwriter Steve Zaillian ("Searching for Bobby Fischer") wrote the original screenplay, and "Rwanda" director Terry George is presently reworking the script.
Cheadle won’t be "officially" offered the role until the script polishes are complete, but all parties seem confident that "American Gangster" is finally getting ready to roll. According to Variety, "Cheadle would play Frank Lucas, a Harlem heroin kingpin in the 1970s who, after he was brought to justice, helped end the corruption and legal loopholes that allowed him to import the drug from Southeast Asia."
The film was previously set to begin production some time ago, but had to be delayed for budgetary reasons.