Dreamworks is reviving the long in hibernation The Trial Of The Chicago 7, the film that Steven Spielberg was gearing up to direct in 2008 before he suspended work on it. This time, the studio is in final talks with The Bourne Supremacy director Paul Greengrass to helm the picture.
Based on the 1969 trial that arose out of the protests at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, the project got its start as the first part of a three film deal Dreamworks made with screenwriter Aaron Sorkin in 2007 and saw the writer working closely with Spielberg. However, with the specter of a Screen Actor’s Guild Strike which ultimately never materialized, Spielberg gave the project the first of a number of postponements before ultimately deciding to pass on directing the film. A shame as casting had commenced and Sacha Baron Cohen had been attached to play noted hippie activist Abbie Hoffman.
Dreamworks next approached Ben Stiller, hot off the success of the comedy Tropic Thunder, to head up the project. Although Stiller and Sorkin also collaborated heavily over the script, it ultimately was decided that the project would be too expensive for the studio to produce.
Deadline is reporting that the film now has a rather modest budget in the $20 to $30 million range and should begin shooting early in the new year. Casting should begin after Greengrass’s deal is finalized.