Trial of the Chicago 7 Shut Down

After being in the works for over 10 years, Aaron Sorkin‘s legal drama The Trial of the Chicago 7 was close to heading into production. However, Amblin Entertainment is shutting down pre-production on the project for the time being. But why?

Variety has word from Amblin Entertainment that they shut down production in order to allow writer/director Aaron Sorkin to focus on his Broadway adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird, which opens Thursday. Here’s what Amblin said in their official statement:

“Aaron just adapted ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ which is premiering on Broadway this Thursday. He is currently evaluating his schedule and commitments to determine the best time and way to make The Trial of the Chicago 7. Amblin remains involved as a producer.”

However, additional details from The Hollywood Reporter say, “Budgetary concerns forced the company to pull the plug on the feature project.” So maybe Amblin Entertainment is coming up with an excuse while they figure out what to do with the movie, if anything.

It remains to be seen if Sorkin will still end up directing the project, or if he’ll maybe decide to let someone else take the reins behind the camera. If he has other commitments after To Kill a Mockingbird is up and running, he might not have the time to dedicate to directing a studio film like this. That would be a shame since Sorkin previously scripted A Few Good Men, one of the best courtroom dramas of all time, and having him direct his own script this time would have been great.

This is just one more in a long line of hiccups in the development of The Trial of the Chicago 7, the story of the infamous 1969 trial of seven men charged by the federal government with conspiracy, arising from the counter-cultural protests in Chicago at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. It was a headline-making affair and was the focus of much controversy and conversation for years to come. Previously directors like Paul Greengrass and Steven Spielberg flirted with the idea of directing, but those iterations never made this far.

The Trial of the Chicago 7 had already recruited Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baron Cohen, and Jonathan Majors to be part of the cast. With this shutdown/delay in production, there’s a chance these actors may not be able to stay part of the cast. Redmayne specifically has another Fantastic Beasts sequel he’ll be working on at some point, so he might not have the time to partake in the drama. But it all depends on when it gets off the ground.

In the meantime, you should check out Chicago 10, a documentary chronicling the events at the center of The Trial of the Chicago 7. It features the voices of Hank Azaria, Dylan Baker, Nick Nolte, Mark Ruffalo, Roy Scheider, Liev Schreiber, James Urbaniak, and Jeffrey Wright in an animated reenactment of the trial based on transcripts and rediscovered audio recordings. It’s available to watch on Amazon Prime right now.

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