Forest Whitaker

Having won an Oscar for portraying one historical leader, Forest Whitaker is preparing to tackle another. Only while The Last King of Scotland‘s Idi Amin was a ruthless dictator, Memphis‘ Martin Luther King Jr. was, well, Martin Luther King Jr.

Paul Greengrass is directing the Scott Rudin-produced film, which is now going the indie route after being dropped by Universal a couple years back. Hit the jump to get the details.

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When Universal was shedding projects in 2011, one that was dropped was Memphis, a chronicle of Martin Luther King, Jr. from producer Scott Rudin and director Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Ultimatum, United 93). The film was ambitiously scheduled, with a hopeful release date set for this year’s MLK holiday, and with Greengrass not being noted for his post-production speed.

But there was also question over whether the King estate approved the script. All told, the deck was stacked against the project, and Greengrass moved on to Captain Phillips. I joked when Universal cut the film loose that Annapurna Productions should step in, but in reality it looks like Wild Bunch is now going to finance Memphis, giving Rudin and Greengrass another chance to tell the story. Read More »

Although I really don’t know the truth of the matter, I imagine that the past year has been a frustrating one for Paul Greengrass. Green Zone came out in March 2010 and was almost immediately labeled an underperformer. After a great deal of extra time was taken to reshoot and cut the not-exactly crowd-pleasing film, it probably could never be anything but. Then multiple projects came and went, most notably the civil rights film Memphis, which got the thumbs-down from both Universal and the Martin Luther King, Jr. estate.

So what will the director make next? The biggest possible option seems to be a film based on the merchant-vessel meets Somali pirates hostage situation chronicled in the memoir A Captain’s Duty. But there is also a Formula One film called Rush, written by big-time screenwriter Peter Morgan, that may be on the horizon. Read More »

Last month Universal agreed to finance and distribute Memphis, a film about Martin Luther King with Paul Greengrass writing and directing and Scott Rudin producing. The film was ideally going to hit right in time for the MLK holiday in 2012.

Now Universal has dropped the project. What happened? Read More »

Paul Greengrass has finally made a decision as to what film he’s going to make next. The director of The Bourne Ultimatum and United 93 took some time off after last year’s Green Zone and had been considered to direct several projects including Fantastic Voyage, Cleopatra and Tales from the Gangster Side. Now it appears that earlier rumors were true and Greengrass will helm Memphis, from a script he wrote, which centers on the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Read what we know about this project and why it’s perfect for Greengrass after the jump. Read More »

There have been quite a few possible and/or rumored projects of late for Bourne / United 93 / Green Zone director Paul Greengrass. The most recent rumor had him as a possible director for Cleopatra starring Angelina Jolie. Now add another one to the pile, and it could end up being another film from Cleopatra producer Scott Rudin.

There’s a report saying that the director wants to make Memphis, a film about the events that led to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Read More »

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