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 »
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Posted on Wednesday, December 14th, 2011 by Angie Han
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.
Update: This is now confirmed.
At this point Paul Greengrass has not directed more movies than he’s directed. Let me explain. Since his last film, Green Zone, the director has been attached to at least nine different projects. Some he’s committed to doing, others just floated his name, but considering he’s only directed seven features (though we really only talk about five) it’s a pretty staggering number of possible projects to be attached to in under two years. Either he’s really unlucky, like was the case with Memphis, or really picky, as was probably the case with Fantastic Voyage. Most likely a combination of both.
All this, of course, leads to the obvious. Novelist and screenwriter Robert Harris said that Paul Greengrass is “on board” to direct the film version of his upcoming novel, The Fear Index. Read more after the jump. Read More »
Here’s an incremental update on both the film to be based on Captain Richard Phillips‘ memoir A Captain’s Duty and the next stage in the career of director Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Supremacy, Green Zone). Last week we reported that the director had become a candidate for Sony’s film based on the book, which Tom Hanks became attached to months ago based on the script by Billy Ray.
Now Sony has offered the directorial duties to Paul Greengrass, and negotiations are about to begin. Looks like this will be his next film. 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 »
Paul Greengrass has a pretty interesting career — he tends to flip between overtly social/political films and more pulpy material, but even his action films have a level of political awareness. Lately he’s had some trouble getting a movie made at all, with Universal passing on his MLK film Memphis, and the King estate reportedly not so much in love with the script. (The Memphis script isn’t 100% flattering towards Dr. King, and DreamWorks already has a competing project in the works.)
So it looks like it might be time to flip back to the pulp material for a moment. The film Travis McGee, based on John D. MacDonald‘s novel The Deep Blue Good-By, has been riding the development cycle for the past couple years. Oliver Stone was a possible director, and since 2009 Leonardo DiCaprio has been attached to star in what is seen as a possible franchise opener. Now Paul Greengrass is now considering making it his own. Read More »
On Thursday, April 14th 2011, I had the opportunity to participate in a roundtable conversation with Michael Bay, to talk about his upcoming film, Transformers: Dark of the Moon. You can read my report about the footage we screened in another article. After the jump, I’ve included the complete massive 7,200 word transcript.
Read More »
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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 »