Keller, who was a resident of the American Can Company at the time of the storm, helped the other residents of the building -- many elderly and/or handicapped -- and a few refugees stay safe while the flood waters raged outside. Keller also documented his story with photos and videotape. He told The Times-Picayune in 2007, "There were other people rescuing people. But they didn't hot-wire boats, hot-wire cars, swim to the grocery store, come back with food, cook for all those people, organize them, get the thugs off them." In the end, 244 people were evacuated safely with help from Keller.
Though no one has been cast as the ex-Marine, it seems more than likely Smith is gunning for the star role in addition to his role as producer. Although Smith is one of the hottest properties in Hollywood, he's had a few missteps recently, like head-scratcher Hancock and epic stinker Seven Pounds, which inspired New York Times movie reviewer A. O. Scott to write, "Frankly, though, I don't see how any review could really spoil what may be among the most transcendentally, eye-poppingly, call-your-friend-ranting-in-the-middle-of-the-night-just-to-go-over-it-one-more-time crazily awful motion pictures ever made. I would tell you to go out and see it for yourself, but you might take that as a recommendation rather than a plea for corroboration. Did I really see what I thought I saw?"
So far the disaster has only been the subject of documentaries like the excellent Trouble the Water and Spike Lee's When the Levees Broke. Trouble the Water brought the viewer into the Hurricane as it unfolded and the lives of the people it affected as two NOLA residents filmed the events around them in what began as a sheer coincidence, and while it's a devastating film to experience, it also ends with hope. Kimberly Rivers Roberts and Scott Roberts, the people filming the devastation around them in the 9th Ward of New Orleans, one of the poorest parts of the city, gave birth to their child the day after their film premiered at Sundance to an overwhelming reception. (Read Cinematical's Sundance review of Trouble the Water here.)
But are we ready for a Katrina movie that's gotten the Will Smith feel-good movie treatment?