November 2, 2007. Circle that date, y'all. If you thought Denzel Washington was a bad mother 'shut your mouth' ('King Kong ain't got nothin' on me!) in his Academy Award winning turn as corrupt narcotics cop Alonzo Harris in Training Day, his upcoming role as big time, real life Harlem drug runner Frank Lucas should pretty much set your hair on fire (if Frank's account of his life can be trusted). I just read a tight New York Magazine article (circa 2000) by Mark Jacobson about the real Frank Lucas and it reads like a cross between Superfly, New Jack City, The Sopranos, Nelly's 'Pimp Juice' and Platoon. This guy was off the meter and Denzel will be bringing Lucas' sordid story to the silver screen in his upcoming movie American Gangster....
To say this film production is star-crossed would be putting it mildly as it went through two directors and two stars (Denzel, then Don Cheadle, then back to Denzel). In my view you can't go wrong with either of those boyz and if the script stays anywhere close to the ruckus goin' on in that article, Denzel will be back up for another Oscar nomination cuz that material is just too damn juicy.
Here's the backstory, y'all. Frank Lucas started out as a North Carolina country boy who started straight clownin' after he witnessed his cousin being murdered by the Klan. He started small timin' it to provide for his family and before long he found his way to Harlem and became a '...one-man, hell-bent crime wave'. He took Advanced Crime 501 from smooth Harlem crime boss Ellsworth 'Bumpy' Johnson (played to perfection by Laurence Fishburne in Hoodlum).
Once Bumpy passed in the late 60's, Frank dropped it into overdrive and turned his attention to the lucrative heroin trade, ultimately hooking up a supply line of horse that originated in the 'Golden Triangle' of Southeast Asia and was transported back stateside in the coffins of dead U.S. soldiers coming home from Vietnam. Homey flooded the streets with one of the purest strains of heroin and had southsiders shufflin' up to his dealers like extras from the Night Of The Living Dead. Wisely, he only employed friends and family from North Carolina (the Country Boys) as his dealers since they were more trustworthy than city boys who were always looking to get theirs and Frank would watch over his street corner enterprise from the driver's seat of a beat up hoopty called Nellybelle - the perfect disguise for a man who, at the height of his earnings, was clocking $1 million...a day.
Peep that article, y'all and holler back if your mouth doesn't hit the floor. Frank was a buck wild boy. Not sure I can wait a year to check this joint out - especially since 'Karen Sisco' - Carla Gugino's in that bad boy too (who cares about Russell Crowe??). Wonder if she finds her way up in Nellybelle too?