By our guest blogger, Joe Oliveto
With a background in documentary filmmaking, director Paul Greengrass has an eye for realism and a sensitive approach to social issues. His work on “Bloody Sunday” and “United 93” was even-handed but emotionally effective, and he gave the two "Bourne" sequels a jolt of energy that proved he has the skill to be a compelling action filmmaker as well. True, "Green Zone" wasn’t as believable as his earlier works, but it was still viscerally exciting at times.
So, while it’s OK to be disappointed about the fact that he won’t be returning to the "Bourne" franchise, recent news on his career is fairly exciting anyway. Deadline reports that Greengrass will write and direct “Memphis,” a film about Martin Luther King.
With Scott Rudin producing, this could be potential Oscar material. Greengrass was previously nominated for Best Director for his work on “United 93,” but lost to Martin Scorsese. Which he was probably OK with.
However, it will be an interesting test of Greengrass’ directorial skills. Even though he has shown audiences that he is perfectly capable of taking real tragic events and portraying them with sympathy and compassion, there was an element of immediate tension to his other projects which kept audiences engaged. Both “Bloody Sunday” and “United 93” stuck the viewer in the middle of the chaos--they weren’t exactly character pieces.
Although “Memphis,” given its title, will undoubtedly deal with the assassination of King, we anticipate that for the most part, it will be a film driven by strong performances and subtle, nuanced drama. Greengrass approached this territory before when he was directing TV movies, but it has been a while since he’s been there.
So, of course the big question to be answered--who on Earth can play Martin Luther King Jr.? It will be quite a task to convincingly capture such an iconic figure on screen.