Common joins AMC pilot ‘Hell on Wheels’

Sam McPherson August 7, 2010 0

I don’t know about what it sounds like to you, but to me, Hell on Wheels sounds like a Sons of Anarchy spin-off. Maybe it’s the east coast incarnation of a motorcycle gang, right?

Not exactly. In fact, the new pilot that AMC is developing is titled Hell on Wheels because it centers on a train. Now, this isn’t one of those macabre trains that you might see in Stephen King’s Dark Tower series or something. No, it’s a good old historical train, set in the good old western times during the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad back in the late 19th century. In fact, that’s just what the series is about: the railroad’s construction.

Now, the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad has always fascinated me. Different ethnic groups built different parts of the railway (which traveled across America horizontally), but there were many difficulties, such as going through mountain ranges or the Native Americans who began to attack those laying the railroad.

But that’s enough of a history lesson. The pilot of Hell on Wheels is being developed by AMC, and has already secured a fairly big-name actor: Common. Now, Common is primarily known as a rapper, but he’s had a few acting gigs. Perhaps most notably, he appeared in the 2007 action flick Smokin’ Aces alongside Jeremy Piven and Ryan Reynolds. He also appeared as an assassin in Wanted, and also scored appearances in American Gangster and Terminator Salvation. Earlier this year, he changed gears and co-starred in the romantic comedy Just Wright with Queen Latifah.

Now, Entertainment Weekly is reporting, Common “has scored another plum acting gig” with Hell on Wheels, in which he “will play Elam, a biracial freed slave seeking his fortunes along the railroad line.”

Production of Hell on Wheels is slated to begin this month. I can’t wait to see the finished product.