Contrary to popular belief, Paul Walker can and occasionally does appear in films not directly associated with the Fast and the Furious franchise, and will attempt to do so again when Eric Heisserer casts him in the post-Hurricane Katrina thriller, Hours.

You are going to start hearing Heisserer’s name bandied about in the next few weeks, as he’s the writer of Matthijs van Heijningen’s prequel to The Thing, which comes to theaters October 14. But Hours, according to The Hollywood Reporter is a step in a completely opposite direction for a storyteller who also is credited for penning the Nightmare on Elm Street remake from a few years back and last summer’s popular Final Destination 5.

Instead of horror, Hours follows a father in an abandoned hospital who fights against the odds to keep his newborn daughter alive right after Katrina strikes. THR says Heisserer, making his directorial debut, plans to shoot in and around New Orleans, and could begin production as early as March.

Helping to bring jobs to Louisiana by filming in New Orleans can only help a feature that, sight unseen, will be looked at for potentially exploiting Katrina for drama. When it comes to stories set in a post-Katrina environment, it’s damn near impossible to top Spike Lee’s compelling documentaries When The Levees Broke and If God Is Willing and da Creek Don't Rise. But it’s possible that a dramatic narrative can be drawn from this natural tragedy, so long as the script treats each situation with the right amount of respect and reverence. Now, Final Destination and Elm Street don’t suggest that, but Heisserer has an opportunity here to show us he’s capable of delivering something different, and something deeper. Hours could surprise us.

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