MLK Movie "Memphis" in Trouble

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It's a couple days before the 43rd anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., and the reality of making a great King movie seems ever elusive.

Back in February we shared news from Deadline that Universal had given the go-ahead on a Paul Greengrass-helmed King movie called Memphis.

Well, never mind about that.

Deadline is reporting now that Universal has pulled out of producing the film. Memphis, which was to begin production this summer, is left looking for a new financier.

Universal says the decision is due to timing and concerns the film wouldn't be ready for release by MLK weekend in 2012. Deadline wonders, though, if the real reason is objections from the King estate, which is working with the studio Dreamworks on a rival King biopic. That "authorized" film is written by Ronald Harwood (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, The Pianist, Cry, the Beloved Country). The King estate, Deadline says, "might go public with its displeasure over Greengrass' script, which could have hurt the film's theatrical prospects."

Greengrass is looking for a new financial backer. Screen Junkies thinks the city of Memphis should chip in.

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