With MLK Film Delayed, Greengrass Tries McGee

For the first few months of this year, “United 93” and “The Bourne Ultimatum” director Paul Greengrass had been developing his Martin Luther King Jr. feature “Memphis”. Greengrass and producer Scott Rudin had hoped to get the film done by next February.

Then, Universal Pictures passed on the project citing “scheduling reasons”, and yesterday it was revealed via Deadline that the director has now shelved it for at least a year and is already moving onto other projects.

Chief of those is an adaptation of John D. MacDonald’s novel “The Deep Blue Good-By”, the first in a series of novels focusing on the character Travis McGee in development at 20th Century Fox.

McGee is a self-described beach bum who lives aboard 52-foot houseboat the Busted Flush and alleviates his cash-flow problems by serving as a “salvage consultant.” He recovers property for clients, taking a hefty percentage and getting into a lot of danger and romance in sun-drenched Florida.

The project has been in development for some time. Gary Fleder and Oliver Stone have both been in talks to direct at one time or another over the past three years. Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way will produce and the actor is still attached to star, however scheduling may be an issue if Greengrass wants to shoot it this year (DiCaprio is committed to shoot Baz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby” for much of this year).

Another project Greengrass is said to be considering is the Brian Helgeland-scripted “Here There Be Monsters” about a former British naval officer hired to investigate the disappearance of a number of merchant ships, only to run afoul of a sea serpent.