Common lands 'Hell on Wheels' pilot

Rapper nabs lead role on AMC's contemporary western

NEW YORK -- Rapper-actor Common is getting his first TV lead role. AMC said Tuesday it has cast him as one of the leads in its newest pilot "Hell on Wheels."

The show is described as a contemporary western that centers on the building of the Transcontinental Railroad.

Common will play Elam, a freed slave who goes West to work on the railroad and find his place in the world. As a half black, half white man, he does not completely belong to either world.

Common has recently appeared in the movies "Just Wright" and "Date Night."