Paul Greengrass Pushes MEMPHIS Back, Will Next Direct THE DEEP BLUE GOOD-BY?

     April 25, 2011

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After Universal crushingly declined to move ahead with Paul Greengrass’ Martin Luther King Jr. flick Memphis, it looks like the director will be shelving the project for at least a year, and is now looking at other projects. The Bourne director had been working feverishly on Memphis alongside producer Scott Rudin (The Social Network), in hopes of releasing the film next February in time for MLK weekend. Universal pulled the plug for “scheduling reasons,” though many have said that the MLK estate put pressure on the studio to halt the project.

While most expected Greengrass and Rudin to look elsewhere for Memphis financing, Deadline reports that the director will put the film on hold for at least a year and is now looking at other projects. Chief among Greengrass’ prospects is an adaptation of John D. MacDonald’s novel The Deep Blue Good-By. Hit the jump for more.

the-deep-blue-good-by-book-coverA number of directors have flirted with The Deep Blue Good-By in the past, namely Oliver Stone before he moved on to Savages. Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way production company is putting the project together with 20th Century Fox, with an eye for DiCaprio to star. However, if Greengrass wants to start filming this year timing could be a factor. DiCaprio is currently finishing up J. Edgar with Clint Eastwood, then he’s set to move onto Baz Lurhmann’s The Great Gatsby in Australia for an extended shoot.

The Deep Blue Good-By is the first in a series of novels (potential franchise!) and focuses on Travis McGee, a beach bum who lives on a houseboat and takes “salvage consultant” jobs, recovering property for clients all the while encountering various mishaps and adventures along the way.

Another possible project on Greengrass’ radar is Here There Be Monsters. The script, by Brian Helgeland (Mystic River), focuses on a former British naval officer who’s hired to investigate the disappearance of a number of merchant ships. Once there, he and his crew encounter a sea serpent (naturally) and must battle the monster in order to get out alive.

Personally, I’m bummed that we have to wait even longer to see Memphis. The project seemed like the perfect fit for Greengrass, and it’s the kind of picture I’ve been hoping to see him tackle. The guy’s immensely talented and the prospect of seeing the final days of MLK’s life through his lens is enticing. Nevertheless, any new Greengrass film is something to look forward to (Green Zone notwithstanding).

Here’s the synopsis for The Deep Blue Good-By:

TRAVIS McGEE He’s a self-described beach bum who won his houseboat in a card game. He’s also a knight errant who’s wary of credit cards, retirement benefits, political parties, mortgages, and television. He only works when his cash runs out and his rule is simple: he’ll help you find whatever was taken from you, as long as he can keep half…. [Amazon]

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