Ed Zwick has entered talks to direct the drama, reports Deadline.
Sony Pictures, Smith's Overbrook Entertainment partner James Lassiter and Jada Pinkett Smith have revived the neglected project.
The film will be based on the true story of Gulf War veteran John Keller (Smith), who protected a group of elderly people in the American Can apartment building during Hurricane Katrina.
The project has been in development at Overbook since 2009. Denzel Washington considered the role in 2011.
Smith is also rumoured to still be in line for assassin thriller The Accountant. Mel Gibson was formerly attached to direct the project.
The actor recently signed on to Focus. He will next be seen alongside his son Jaden Smith in M Night Shyamalan's After Earth.
Watch a trailer for Will Smith's forthcoming movie After Earth below: