Universal Pictures will set up Memphis, the drama that centers on the assassination of Dr.Martin Luther King Jr. written and directed by Paul Greengrass. The Oscar-nominated producer of Best Picture candidates The Social Network and True Grit, Scott Rudin, will make the project together with Greengrass.
Paul Greengrass wrote the script based on his own research, focused on King’s life while trying to organize the city’s sanitation workers in the turbulent spring of 1968, just before his murder on April 4 of the same year. Greengrass made more human approach to King’s character than some might expect. By the spring of 1968, King’s personal and professional lives were in confusion– his marriage was uncertain; he was a heavy smoker and drinker, and has problems packing on the pounds. King’s straightforward statements on the Vietnam War caused him to break his relationship with President Johnson, and his interest in labor organization and the urban poverty put him on the borders of the rising Black Power movement, so King was not supported by groups like The Black Panthers.
This will certainly spark a little disagreement and it will be interesting to see how this movie gains the feedback from audience now that it has a green light. We will see if it drops into the conspiracy theories revolving around the King’s assassination in which murderer convicted James Earl Ray involved everyone from the CIA, the FBI, the mafia, the Green Berets, LBJ, the Memphis Police and Fire Departments, and the Boy Scouts of America.
Memphis is one of several pictures based on the American icon’s life that are now being considered and Universal are eager to fast track the film in order to beat all the competitors to the punch.
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.
There are of course plenty of great possibilities to play one of the most famous people in the history of the American nation: Denzel Washington, Will Smith, Don Cheadle, Anthony Mackie, Jamie Foxx, Terrence Howard and Forrest Whitaker come to mind.
Production on the film is scheduled to begin in June. So, stay tuned for “Memphis”.