By our guest blogger, Nick Hanover
Despite picking up the project in March, Universal has now decided to halt all production on Paul Greengrass' Martin Luther King Jr. pic Memphis. Deadline, who broke the story, speculates that the decision comes as a result of pressure from the King estate. Memphis, which tells the story of MLK's final days, was scheduled for release in time for next year's MLK Day but the King estate was supposedly critical of the production with King confidante Andrew Young personally reaching out to Universal with concerns. It's unclear at the moment whether the family's objections were because of the script's content or if they're somewhat financially motivated due to the family's involvement with DreamWorks' MLK project.
Regardless, Greengrass is looking for new backers to get the project back on track and it's likely that he'll succeed given his impeccable track record. Outside of the Bourne films, Greengrass has also directed 9/11 flick United 93, the non-fiction "troubles" film Bloody Sunday and the recent Matt Damon picture Green Zone. Greengrass isn't alone in his problems getting an MLK picture off the ground either, since Lee Daniels' own project Selma fell through last year amidst similar rumors about problems with the King estate. The failure of that project in particular lends credence to the theory that the King estate interfered with the works not because of moral or personal objections but financial ones, since Daniels' isn't exactly known for controversial examinations of public figures the same way Greengrass has been in the past.