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Paul Greengrass in talks to helm the Chicago 7 screenplay from Aaron Sorkin

Jul. 23, 2013by: Niki Stephens

A true story flick that has been tossed about since 2007 is finally getting a director, perhaps this one will stay on board this time.

Dreamworks is in final talks with director Paul Greengrass to take on helming duties for Aaron Sorkin's Chicago 7 screenplay. Steven Spielberg was originally attached to direct back in 2008 with buzz that it would be an Oscar contender. After trying to get everything together including a solid cast things just didn't pan out as intended (also push back because of the SAG strike) and Spielberg got busy with other projects.

The story centers on, "the infamous 1969 federal conspiracy trial arising out of the protesters vs police violent rioting at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago that transfixed the nation because of its counter-culture and leftist mayhem intended to undermine the U.S. government."

If you are looking for more details, continue reading below:

"It's based on the 1968 Democratic National Convention when anti-war, counter-culture, Yippie, Black Panther, and other protesters battled the Chicago Police Department in what became week-long street rioting witnessed live on television by a worldwide audience. A year later the Nixon administration tried the most prominent activists on charges they conspired to incite the violence. Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, John Froines, and Lee Weiner were represented by attorneys William Kunstler and Leonard Weinglass of the Center For Constitutional Rights. An 8th defendant, Bobby Seale, co-chair of the Black Panther Party, wound up infamously bound, gagged and handcuffed to his chair by presiding U.S. District Judge Julius Hoffman until his trial was severed during the proceedings. Seale was ordered to serve 5 years in prison for contempt of court."

"The Chicago 7 trial lasted months and created headlines, especially with many well-known names from the American left called to testify including folk singers Phil Ochs, Judy Collins and Arlo Guthrie, writers Norman Mailer and Allen Ginsberg, and activists Timothy Leary and Jesse Jackson. On February 18, 1970, all 7 defendants were found not guilty of conspiracy. Froines and Weiner were acquitted completely, while the remaining 5 were convicted of crossing state lines with the intent to incite a riot, and sentenced to 5 years in prison. Two years later, all the convictions were reversed on appeal."

Ben Stiller was up to the plate at one point to take on the flick, however, he and Sorkin couldn't crack the script. Greengrass should definitely be the go to guy on this, or they could get Ben Affleck. I like the idea that Stiller was trying to step up to the plate though. It could have been interesting to see what he would do with this sort of material.

Source: Deadline

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6:49PM on 07/24/2013

Great to hear!

What is with all this Greengrass backlash? The guy has a unique style of mixing drama, with action, with both fiction and non-fiction, and make it look as surreal as possible. Since "Bloody Sunday" he's released 4 films, one of them being the great "United 93" and the two great "Bourne" films. Cut the dude some slack.
What is with all this Greengrass backlash? The guy has a unique style of mixing drama, with action, with both fiction and non-fiction, and make it look as surreal as possible. Since "Bloody Sunday" he's released 4 films, one of them being the great "United 93" and the two great "Bourne" films. Cut the dude some slack.
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4:20AM on 07/24/2013
Agree with stopedavestop, Greengrass has made some great films (Bloody Sunday, Bourne 2 & 3, United 93) but he's really gotta ditch the shaky cam look. It's annoying, old and just doesn't work with every film.
Agree with stopedavestop, Greengrass has made some great films (Bloody Sunday, Bourne 2 & 3, United 93) but he's really gotta ditch the shaky cam look. It's annoying, old and just doesn't work with every film.
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11:09PM on 07/23/2013
Oh, goody. Another badly filmed, horribly edited unwatchable mess from Paul Greengrass. No thanks, he's given me enough headaches.
Oh, goody. Another badly filmed, horribly edited unwatchable mess from Paul Greengrass. No thanks, he's given me enough headaches.
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10:26PM on 07/23/2013
I think if Ben Affleck were to do this, it would be too similar to Argo. I'd rather see him do another crime drama, or a completely new genre he hasn't done yet.
I think if Ben Affleck were to do this, it would be too similar to Argo. I'd rather see him do another crime drama, or a completely new genre he hasn't done yet.
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