Denzel Washington to star in 'Eli'

Alcon is financing the futuristic drama

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 batter 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, repped by UTA and Circle of Confusion, recently adapted the graphic novel "Akira" for two live-action films for Warners and Legendary Pictures.

Peckham, who is repped by WMA, adapted John Carlin's biography of Nelson Mandela, "The Human Factor," for director Clint Eastwood and Warners. He also rewrote "Sherlock Holmes" for director Guy Ritchie and will adapt Olen Steinhauer's "The Tourist."