One of the most depressing signs of how unambitious and cautious movie studios are these days came when Universal backed away from Paul Greengrass's next film, a biopic about the final days and assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. The guy had directed two hugely successful Bourne films for them, and seemed to have at least learned a few lessons from the disappointment of Green Zone, but the studio balked at paying for an expensive movie about a historical figure and aimed toward an adult audience.

Greengrass, God love him, doesn't seem to have given up on making the King film, titled Memphis. But he may be putting it on hold for a little while. According to Deadline while he's lining up Memphis financiers he is also considering a job directing The Deep Blue Good-by, an adaptation of John D. MacDonald's private eye series that's set up at 20th Century Fox with Leonardo DiCaprio's production company Appian Way.

Fox optioned Deep Blue Good-By, with DiCaprio on board to star, way back in September of 2009; apparently i in the meantime Oliver Stone had considered making the movie before moving on to his upcoming drug drama Savages. Greengrass is just one of several directors being considered to direct the film, and anyone who gets the job will have to work around DiCaprio's schedule as he wraps up Clint Eastwood's J. Edgar and prepares to play The Great Gatsby for Baz Luhrmann.

Even if Greengrass doesn't wind up getting the job-- and maybe that could be for the better, allowing him more time and energy to put into Memphis-- I'm excited to see DiCaprio to play a beach bum kind of private eye, a guy who lives in a houseboat called The Busted Flush and who takes job recovering property for various clients. A Californian by birth, DiCaprio's always had that laconic surfer kid vibe that he only really indulged in Baz Luhrmann's Romeo & Juliet; much as he's been trying to run away from this kind of role, it might be better suited to him than any of the other chameleonic stuff. I'm dying to find out which other directors are being considered for this job so we can really start speculating about who might be best for it.

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