Power Slam! Movie to chronicle war between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse

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You may not guess by looking at these two, but in a movie about Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse, sparks will fly.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter filmmaker Timur Bekmambetov is developing plans to direct The Current War, a historical drama pitting the two titans of industry against each other at the dawn of the age of electricity as both competed for control of the American power grid.

Written by playwright Michael Mitnick (The Sex Lives of Our Parents), the script was featured on the 2011 Black List of Hollywood’s best unproduced screenplays. That is, until a lightbulb went on over Bekmambetov’s head — so to speak.

So who should play these two pioneers of technology?

If we’re casting a doppelganger for Westinghouse, too bad George Lucas isn’t an actor. Otherwise, based on turn-of-the-last-century mustache fluffiness, how could Westinghouse be played by anyone other than Sam Elliott?  Hardscrabble Elliott doesn’t have the thickset physicality, however. No doubt, this is a job for the awesome character actor Bruce McGill. Or maybe Kenneth Branagh is our man?

And Edison? Before you all answer “Anthony Hopkins!” at once, let’s consider some other possibilities. Maybe Ed Harris in John McCain mode, Ben Kingsley, or Malcolm McDowell. Perhaps even Steve Martin, who has done well with dramatic roles.

No, got your heart set on Hopkins? All right, how about this pairing then?

The Current War will be financed through Bazelevs’ independent development fund, and will be overseen by the company’s development chief, Michele Wolkoff.

The project was brought into the company by creative executive Alan Khamoui, and Steve Zaillian and Garrett Basch will executive produce through Zaillian’s Film Rites. Mitnick is repped by WME and Jeff Silver at Fourth Floor Productions, while Bekmambetov is repped by WME.

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