You know the rule: If a film has the word American in its title, then that means it's going to kick ass. C'mon, you've got American Pie, American Beauty, American History X, American Splendor...oh, it is so a rule. If that's the case, then Universal's American Gangster should thrive, assuming this time it's finally moving forward.
Awhile back, Steven Zaillian wrote a script for Gangster that was to star Denzel Washington and Benicio Del Toro, with Antoine Fugua (Training Day) attached to direct. However, feeling the story was a bit too edgy and afraid the budget would soar to over $100 million, the studio put the project on hold.
Afterward, Terry George was brought on to re-write the original script and tone things down, though producer Brian Grazer was having a hard time letting go of Zaillian's version. That's when Ridley Scott became interested in directing and, after convincing Russell Crowe to jump on-board, Universal decided to go back to Zaillian and pay him a sweet seven-figure deal to, well, re-write his own damn script. The good news is that the film is now on the move and Washington is still attached - and the budget will remain the same as it was before. Yeah, you figure it out - because I sure as hell can't. That's Hollywood for ya.