Back in January it was announced that Paul Greengrass had set up a Martin Luther King biopic called Memphis at Universal, but several disagreements with the MLK estate led to Universal pulling out. Now Greengrass has pushed it back for the next couple of years and is looking for another project to sink his teeth into.
The front-runner is The Deep Blue Good-by, from a novel by John D. MacDonald which is from a series of novels with character Travis McGee at the centre. It’s being put together at 20th Century Fox with Leonardo DiCaprio‘s production company Appian Way, who are producing with Amy Robinson and Peter Chernin. Dana Stevens and Kario Salem have written a script.
The project has been developed as a potential star vehicle for DiCaprio and perhaps a franchise, there are a good number of novels to attack. DiCaprio has long wanted to play Travis McGee. The character is a bum who lives on a houseboat, who, when needing money, takes “salvage consultant” jobs. This pertains recovering property for clients and taking a significant chunk of that and getting into various troubles.
Deadline have also said that the push back on Memphis is a financial issue:
The original plan between Greengrass and producer Scott Rudin was to get Memphis into production so that the film could be platformed before year end and then open wide around the Martin Luther King holiday weekend. As the window on getting Memphis into production began to close after Universal Pictures declined to move ahead and things couldn’t be pulled together quickly enough with one of several financiers that circled, Greengrass has begun looking at several projects.
So exciting stuff, I’d love to see Greengrass back directing and I’d love to see what he would do with the MLK story. Whether that happens we’ll have to wait and see but if The Deep Blue Good-by gets him there that’s fine by me.