bourne ultimatum

The first three Bourne films, starring Matt Damon, were the first stage of what Universal would like to be an ongoing and continually lucrative series. The fourth film, written and directed by Tony Gilroy and starring Jeremy Renner as another chemically engineered super-spy (chems? Chems. CHEMS!) moved the story forward a bit, but wasn’t a runaway hit.

Universal has been developing a fifth film, and for a few years there have been hints that Matt Damon might be recruited to co-star in a “crossover” film that would put him in the same film with Renner’s character. That eventuality may be closer than we thought, as Damon is now rumored to be in early talks to return to the fold.

Update: Universal has denied the report. Variety has the denial.

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Tom Hanks stars in Captain Phillips, the new film from United 93 director Paul Greengrass. He’s the captain of the ship Maersk Alabama, which was hijacked by Somali pirates in 2009. The first trailer showed the beginning of that hijacking, but this second trailer is more detailed and intense as it shows the actions and personalities of Phillips and the pirate leader, and hints at the military response to the situation.

Check out the trailer below. Read More »

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Several years back, Aaron Sorkin penned a script called The Trial of the Chicago 7 that caught the attention of some high-profile directors. Among those were Steven Spielberg, who was originally set to direct, and then Paul Greengrass and Ben Stiller, when Spielberg departed.

As of today, the screenplay still hasn’t made it to the big screen. But now it may be getting some help from one of the filmmakers who looked at it before. Greengrass is in final talks to direct the fact-based drama, some five years after he first started circling. Hit the jump for the film’s history, plot, and more.

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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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Captain Phillips lo

One word comes to mind watching the first trailer for Paul Greengrass‘ latest film Captain Phillips: Intense. Few filmmakers are better at creating incredible tension and drama out of real world situations, and it appears the director of United 93, Bloody Sunday and two Bourne movies has done it again. This time he’s joined by Oscar-winner Tom Hanks, who plays the title character in the true story of an unarmed American freighter ship hijacked by Somali pirates.

The film, which co-stars Catherine Keener, John Magaro and others, will but out October 11. Check out the trailer below. Read More »

Briefly: A year ago not so many people knew Chris Terrio‘s name. He was a screenwriter with popular work on the Black List and a feature directorial credit to his name. (Heights, which went to Sundance in 2005.) But then Ben Affleck decided to direct Terrio’s script Argo, and things changed. Now Argo producers George Clooney and Grant Heslov are working with Terrio on a crime script, and they’ve got Paul Greengrass attached to direct.

Variety reports that Clooney is attached to star, and that the story is an original tale “set in the world of New York criminal syndicates.” We don’t have more detail than that. Greengrass first has to release Captain Phillips, the film he directed in which he and Tom Hanks dramatize the true story of an attack by Somali pirates. Clooney will next be in Gravity, and he’s set to direct and star in The Monuments Men, and is in talks for Brad Bird’s sci-fi film 1952.

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 »

Briefly: Sony has just announced release dates for two very different projects I’d very nearly forgotten about. Variety reports that Paul Greengrass‘ reality-based Somali pirate tale Captain Phillips is now slated for a March 22, 2013 opening, while Salim Akil‘s music-themed drama Sparkle will hit August 10, 2012.

The former stars Tom Hanks as real-life hero Captain Richard Phillips, who offered himself as a hostage to Somali pirates in exchange for the safety of his cargo ship’s crew. Adapted by Billy Ray (State of Play) from Phillips’ memoir A Captain’s Duty, Captain Phillips comes from The Social Network producers Scott Rudin, Michael De Luca, Dana Brunetti, and Kevin Spacey. The March 2013 date pits Captain Phillips against DreamWorks Animation’s The Croods, which is aimed at a younger demographic.

Akil’s Sparkle is a remake of the 1976 drama of the same title, and is a fictionalized take on the story of Diana Ross and The Supremes. Starring Jordin Sparks, Derek Luke, and Whitney Houston (in her first big-screen role since 1996′s The Preacher’s Wife), the film will feature original music from R. Kelly. Sparkle‘s August release coincides with the opening two rather dissimilar films — Jonathan Levine’s zombie romance Warm Bodies and Jay Roach’s political comedy Dog Fight.

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