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Universal Greenlights Paul Greengrass Directed 'Memphis'; Filming Starts In June

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist February 23, 2011 at 7:42AM

Despite the rather ugly dissolution of "Bourne 4" and the poor box office performance of "Green Zone," it looks like Paul Greengrass and Universal are still best buds after all.
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Despite the rather ugly dissolution of "Bourne 4" and the poor box office performance of "Green Zone," it looks like Paul Greengrass and Universal are still best buds after all.

Deadline reports that Universal has given the greenlight to "Memphis," a project that first came to light last month. Written by Greengrass, the historical drama centers on the final days of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the springtime of 1968, when he was trying to help the city’s sanitation workers find common ground. This was a tumultuous time for King: he was facing heat from the President over his opposition to the Vietnam War while fighting marginalization due to his insistence on focusing his efforts on the poor working class. Memphis was also the place he would give his famous "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech just a day before he would be assassinated.

The project was previously rumored to be be set up at Focus Features, but with Universal now taking it on and with uber-producer Scott Rudin behind it, we imagine this will not only be getting a sizable budget, but you can probably slot it in for the the Oscar race in 2012. Filming is expected to kick off in June and while no cast has yet been announced, this iconic role is going to be a star maker for whoever steps into it. We suppose this now also means Lee Daniels' long-gestating "Selma" is probably off the table for now.

This article is related to: Films, Memphis


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