Paul Greengrass Walks Away From Aaron Sorkin's The Trial Of The Chicago 7

If DreamWorks still plans to make The Trial of the Chicago 7, it’s going to have to do it without Paul Greengrass at the helm.

Variety reports that the Bourne director and the studio “have decided to part ways after being unable to agree on a budget” for the period piece, which would focus on the riots caused by activists during the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Illinois. The man accused included Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, John Froines, and Lee Weiner. They were charged with conspiracy, inciting to riot, and other charges related to protests.

Part of the reason Variety says that the budget was ballooning close to $40 million – as opposed to the $30 million mark the studio sought – is because Greengrass wanted to accurately stage the riots, a costly proposition for whomever takes over the production. Someone will be plugged in soon, though, as DreamWorks remains very high on the screenplay submitted by Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing, The Social Network). Scott Rudin is on hand to produce. What are the chances thney would be able to lure David Fincher into their corner, seeing as how the trio collaborated on Social Network an Fincher is between projects (with several irons in the fire)?

Greengrass, meanwhile, is in an enviable spot. His latest film, Captain Phillips, is generating serious heat thanks to his direction and Tom Hanks’ portrayal of an actual commanding officer whose whip is commandeered by Somali pirates. Have you seen the latest trailer?

Variety notes that Greengrass will be quick to locate his next project. Is this the open door that he and Matt Damon want to be able to return to the Bourne franchise for Universal? Because that theory was floated, and then shot down. to me, it kind of sounds like a no-brainer. Greengrass is free now. He and Damon have talked about doing more Bourne stories, and the idea of Damon teaming with Jeremy Renner had potential. Let’s make that happen, people!

As for the Chicago 7, a narrative recreation of those tumultuous political events seems ripe for the picking. But if you want a history lesson on the material Sorkin mined, this Court TV documentary from 1999 can fill in the gaps while you wait to see whom DreamWorks plugs into the hole left vacant by the departing Greengrass.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.