Page last updated at 09:56 GMT, Thursday, 21 May 2009 10:56 UK

Actor Smith to make Katrina film

Will Smith
It is not yet known if Will Smith will appear in the movie

Actor Will Smith has agreed to produce a movie telling the true story of a man who rescued hundreds of people after Hurricane Katrina, reports suggest.

Ex-marine John Keller was nicknamed The Can Man after saving 244 people from flooding during the disaster.

Trade newspaper The Hollywood Reporter said that Smith's production company and Sony Pictures had bought the movie rights to his story.

John Lee Hancock will direct the project, called The American Can.

Hancock, whose previous films include The Rookie and The Alamo, will also write the script.

Mr Keller was dubbed The Can Man after rescuing his neighbours from a five-story apartment building, The American Can Company, where he lived.

For five days, Keller warded off intruders and marauders as chaos raged around the city.

He also directed the eventual rescue operation from the building's roof after residents, many of them elderly or handicapped, were left stranded by 11 feet of water.

"This is the story of an everyman who became a hero," said Doug Belgrad from Sony subsidiary Colombia Pictures.

"That is the story we want to tell. In the moment of an American tragedy, when we are tested, we find that we have greater depth of spirit and strength than we ever knew."

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