Paul Greengrass' Martin Luther King Movie MEMPHIS is Back on Track
Paul Greengrass' Martin Luther King Jr. film Memphis is back on track and moving forward. The project was previously set up at Universal Pictures, but they ended up dumping the project. Greengrass and producer Scott Rudin had issues finding financing after that happened and the project was shelved. They are now in talks with another company called Wild Bunch to finance the project. The movie will follow the final days of Martin Luther King Jr.'s life.
Greengrass wrote the script, it's based on his own original research, and it looks at King’s life while trying to organize the city’s sanitation workers in the spring of 1968, just before his murder on April 4 of that year. The film is supposed to give us a more human portrayal of King than some might expect. "By the spring of 1968, King’s personal and professional lives were in disarray: His marriage was faltering; he was chain-smoking, boozing, and packing on the pounds. King’s outspokenness on the Vietnam War cost him his relationship with President Johnson, and his newfound interest in labor organization and the urban poor put him on the fringes of the rising Black Power movement."
According to Deadline that whole storyline is "juxtaposed with an intense manhunt for King’s assassin James Earl Ray, involving some of the federal authorities who, at Hoover’s direction, had dogged King’s every step with wiretaps and whispering campaigns before the civil rights leader’s death."
King's heirs have their own film project being developed at DreamWorks. Apparently they don't like this human approach that Greengrass is taking on this film. Deadline also mentioned that the script for the film is "Oscar caliber stuff that was a powerful testament to King’s struggle and his sacrifice, even if he was portrayed as an imperfect human being."
This will most likely end up being Greengrass' next film. At least he hopes it will be. I have no doubt Greengrass will make a great movie out of this if he finally gets the chance. Greengrass has made films such as The Bourne Supremacy, United 93, The Bourne Ultimatum and Green Zone.