07/24/2013 09:19 am ET

'The Trial Of The Chicago 7': Paul Greengrass To Direct Aaron Sorkin Script Once Held By Steven Spielberg


Is 2013 the year of lost Steven Spielberg projects finding new life? On the heels of Christopher Nolan picking up the mantle for Spielberg on "Interstellar," a film Spielberg first started developing back in 2006, comes this Deadline.com report about Paul Greengrass taking over for the director on "The Trial of The Chicago 7," a feature Spielberg started game-planning back in 2007.

Written by Aaron Sorkin, the film will focus on the famous conspiracy trial of Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, John Froines and Lee Weiner, all of whom were charged with inciting riots after the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

Spielberg was first attached to the film in 2007, and worked with Sorkin on the project through 2008. The director also had a cast in mind, as noted by Vanity Fair in a piece on the director in February of 2008.

My glance strays to a side table, where headshots of actors under consideration for his likely next directing project, Chicago 7 -- about the conspiracy trial that grew out of protests at the 1968 Democratic convention -- lie on the surface. Among them I spy Will Smith, Taye Diggs, Adam Arkin, and Kevin Spacey; Sacha Baron Cohen (as Abbie Hoffman) and Philip Seymour Hoffman (as William Kunstler) are also linked to the project, which has a screenplay by Aaron Sorkin. (It should be noted here that Chicago 7 will be partly based on Chicago 10, a new documentary produced by Graydon Carter, Vanity Fair’s editor, and Brett Morgen, the film’s director.) After Chicago 7, Spielberg will probably go on to direct Lincoln, with Liam Neeson in the title role.

Memories! Unfortunately, that same month, Deadline.com reported that Spielberg put the brakes on the "Chicago 7" out of fears that a Screen Actors Guild strike would cripple the production. "I know there's no doubt Speilberg is still as enthused as ever about the pic," Deadline.com's Nikki Finke wrote at the time.

By August of that year, however, Spielberg was gone and Paul Greengrass was attached. Five years later, the film might finally move forward with the "Bourne" director in the top position.

For more on this project, including how Ben Stiller factored in, head to Deadline.com.

[via Deadline.com]

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