Dreamworks have reportedly green-lit Oliver Stone's Martin Luther King biopic, though what about Paul Greengrass's Memphis?
Jamie Foxx, the actor who won the Academy Award for best actor for his portrayal of Ray Charles, will take on another of America's heroic figures when he plays Martin Luther King in Oliver Stone's green-lit biopic.
Reports in the U.S. suggest that DreamWorks is moving forward with the movie, which already has the backing of King's family as well as the rights to his copyrighted speeches, including I Have A Dream.
One slight problem is that Paul Greengrass - currently busy promoting his Oscar hope Captain Phillips - has been developing his Martin Luther King movie Memphis for years. The flick, about the great man's final days, started out at Universal before the director clashed with the studio over the big-budget flop Green Zone.
According to Deadline, Memphis comes equipped with an incredible Oscar worthy script though the King family's close confidante Ambassador Andrew Young objected to it on a number of points though namely that it depicts Luther King sharing a bed with a woman that is not his wife.
The plan for Greengrass has always been to release Memphis on MLK weekend - it'd make somewhere in the region of $100 billion - though filming stalled the first time because they couldn't make it fast enough. Veritas and Wild Bunch were looking to finance the project, though Greengrass took on Captain Phillips instead (which appears to have been a decent call).
The Memphis script differs from Stone's biopic in that it only tells the story of King's final days as he struggled to organize a protest march on behalf of black municipal sanitation workers in Tennessee. It's spliced with an intense manhunt for King's assassin James Earl Ray involving some of the federal authorities who had wiretapped King before the civil rights leader's death.
Privy to the script, Deadline writer Mike Fleming Jr calls the split narrative "explosive" and "a powerful testament to King's struggle and his sacrifice." He admits that Oliver Stone and Jamie Foxx are a formidable pairing though reasserts, "Memphis is as good or better than any script that I've read over the past five years."
Things could begin to interesting now that DreamWorks has shown its hand. Greengrass's schedule look pretty empty for the coming year - could it be a case of who gets there first?
It's Oliver Stone vs Paul Greengrass
Paul Greengrass at the Captain Phillips Photocall