Wil Paul Greengrass be able to steady his camera long enough to capture the final days of Dr. Martin Luther King? Universal is hoping so as Deadline reports that they have just greenlit Memphis, a biopic focusing on Dr. King’s work in the titular city in early 1968. Scott Rudin, the Midas-touch producer behind The Social Network and True Grit is also lending a hand in this production, so expect a big budget and the A-game of all parties involved.
With filming to begin in June, one can safely pencil this one in as an Oscar nominee come January 2013. In the nearer term, expect rampant anticipation on who will land the possibly star-making or award-winning role of Martin Luther King. I wish we could rule James Franco out for this role, but he’s simply proved me wrong too many times before.
Greengrass has also been closely linked with the super-ultra-mega-tentpole release Cleopatra, but no news has surfaced in months, so it would appear that whichever way that decision goes, Memphis will get priority.
The juggernauts that are Paul Greengrass and Universal Studios should kill many of the other MLK projects that were rumored or in pre-production, namely, the Dreamworks and Lee Daniels-led Selma, which was circling the drain even before this news came about.