Thanks to his two massively successful Bourne films, Paul Greengrass constantly shows up on lists of directors who might tackle a given project, everything from the Angelina Jolie Cleopatra movie to the Fantastic Voyage remake at Fox. In all the time since last year's Green Zone, though, Greengrass has only committed himself to a Martin Luther King Jr. biopic that Universal went to pull the plug on, wary like all the other studios of movies aimed at actual adults. And while the most recent rumor suggested he could direct Leonardo DiCaprio in the detective movie The Deep Blue Good-By before tackling the MLK project again, Vulture reports he's got two other projects he's weighing as well, and one of them could involve an American hero that rivals even Jason Bourne.

They say that Greengrass is in talks to direct Maersk Alabama, the true story of the American container ship taken hostage by Somali pirates that will star Tom Hanks as the heroic skipper Richard Phillips; the studio is talking about putting the film into production as soon as the fall, once Hanks is done working with the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer on Cloud Atlas. His other option is Rush, a drama about a Formula One racecar driver with a script written by The Queen's Peter Morgan. That project would inevitably be much smaller than the giant Sony one with Tom Hanks in the lead, so presumably Greengrass is weighing just how huge a project he wants to take on for his next effort.

I don't mind Greengrass keeping his eye on a mix of smaller and larger projects-- after all, United 93 was a tiny production that's some of Greengrass's best work. But the Maersk Alabama movie sounds like the kind of gripping, tense, true-life story that would work really well in Greengrass's hands, avoiding sentimentality and pontification on the Greatness Of America and instead opting for something more realistic and intense. Plenty of directors can probably do well by the material, but Greengrass seems like the best fit of all. I'm crossing my fingers he makes it happen.

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