Alcon books hero for 'Eli'

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Denzel Washington has signed on to star in the futuristic drama "The Book of Eli" for directing duo Allen and Albert Hughes.

Warner Bros.-based shingle Alcon Entertainment is financing the project and will co-produce with Silver Pictures. The company's Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson also are producing with Washington, Susan Downey and Silver Pictures' Joel Silver.

The post-apocalyptic drama is based on a story by Gary Whitta, with a rewrite by Anthony Peckham, and focuses on the not-so-distant future where America is a wasteland and a lone warrior (Washington) fights to bring society the knowledge that is key to its redemption.

Filming starts in January in New Mexico.

"This is an epic tale, a thriller set in a future uninviting yet hopeful, and its hero could not be better suited to Denzel Washington," Alcon's Johnson and Kosove said. "The Hughes brothers will bring a bold, contemporary edge to the story and we're excited to have this be our next film."

The WMA-repped Washington this year completed the thriller "The Taking of Pelham 123" for Columbia.

Whitta is repped by UTA and Circle of Confusion. Peckham is repped by WMA. (partialdiff)