EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures will make Memphis, the drama about the assassination of Martin Luther King written and directed by Paul Greengrass. The picture is being produced by Scott Rudin, the Oscar-nominated producer of Best Picture candidates The Social Network and True Grit. Production on the film is slated to begin in June. It reunites the studio with Greengrass, who last made The Green Zone for Uni and who withdrew from making a fourth installment of The Bourne Identity. Even though that last picture came in at a high budget and didn’t succeed at the box office, Greengrass turned in two hit Bourne sequels and the Oscar-nominated United 93.
Memphis steps in front of several pictures that were being mobilized about Dr. King. There is a Ronald Harwood-scripted DreamWorks project that has the backing of King’s heirs, and Selma, an indie that Lee Daniels was working on with funding from The Weinstein Company (that project seems to have stalled completely), and Harpo’s Oprah Winfrey and Kate Forte have an HBO deal for America: In the King Years, a 7-hour miniseries based on the seminal Taylor Branch book series, being adapted by Robert Schenkkan