Has Paul Greengrass' adaptation of Captain Richard Phillips story of when his ship Maersk Alabama (also the title of the film) was held hostage by Somali Pirates in 2009 and looked like it was ready to film this year with Tom Hanks in the leading role, fallen down at Sony Pictures? The film had huge momentum just two months ago but for a thriller that was looking ready to go in front of camera's, things have gone eerily quiet leading some to believe Maersk Alabama is just the latest in a long line of unrealised Greengrass projects of 2010. Presumably Hanks has realised he is too busy with The Wachowski's ambitious adaptation of Cloud Atlas and he has had to drop out.... and without Hanks, Sony don't have a movie. That would be a huge shame, not least because we are desperate for Greengrass to work again but also because the project sounded like it would suit his shaky cam way of shooting tense situations and also because it was a role for Hanks that reminded us of the great and challenging roles he was taking ten years ago, something he has avoided lately. Plus it's just a fascinating true story. But instead of an update on the film, reps for the director yesterday instead confirmed that he has attached himself to Robert Harris' forthcoming novel The Fear Index after the author let slip the news in an interview with The Telegraph. This story, which sounds like a completely improbable and outlandish but no less interesting, high-concept thriller (the last of his novels to hit the screen was The Ghost) follows a genius who creates a highly profitable hedge-fund based on a computer that can predict human mood swings. His world is, however, thrown into turmoil after an intruder breaches the security systems at his home. Maybe not as intriguing a prospect as Maersk Alabama but Harris' novels usually prove to be the basis of really fun thrillers and as we've said above, it's been too long since Green Zone and we want to see a new Greengrass picture. Harris is writing the screenplay for the movie himself and Greengrass will probably decide whether to make it on the quality of that... but will The Fear Index actually happen? Well one of the reasons perhaps why Greengrass hasn't got rolling on a movie despite the dozen of projects he has flirted with in 2010 is simply because he is so close to his Martin Luther King JR. biopic Memphis which he wrote and pitched from the ground up himself that he still desperately wants to get it made. It's his baby and perhaps he has a ill conceived idea that a major Hollywood studio will publicly go against the King estate and give him the money to get his warts-and-all biopic made.... despite Universal getting cold feet on the movie in the spring and no other studio coming forward yet. Speaking to The Washington Post, Greengrass recently said;
Well set about making the film in due course... The good thing is this: The way the world is turning right now makes Kings legacy and ideas increasingly more relevant. Look at whats happened in the Middle East right now. What do we see? Millions of disenfranchised, mainly young people pressing for radical non-violent changeThis great, unstoppable ideal that King developed in the U.S., is alive and moving across the world today in profound ways.
Our advice to Greengrass? Let the King JR biopic die down for now. There's no reason why that film couldn't be made in 2013 or later when maybe the landscape will have changed and move on to other projects to keep you in the game. The Fear Index wouldn't be a bad movie to make... it would likely be a very good one. Or what about that Blackbeard project you spoke of? Don't let Pirates of the Caribbean 4's awful use of the character put you off telling us the tale of the real ruthless Pirate of the seven seas! (via The Playlist)