Paul Greengrass is like the Ricky Jay of Hollywood directors. Every few months, the “Captain Phillips” filmmaker becomes attached to a new project, the likelihood of it actually happening a complete unknown, but fascinating nonetheless. Maybe it”s a Martin Luther King biopic. Or an adaptation of “Agent Storm: My Life Inside Al Qaeda.” Or a crime picture with George Clooney. Or Aaron Sorkin”s long-gestating “The Trial Of The Chicago 7.” Or even a triumphant return to the “Bourne” franchise! When Greengrass eventually makes a movie, it can come out of nowhere. He (or his agent) is the master of industry illusions.
The latest sleight of hand trick arrives from Variety, who reports that Greengrass is attached to helm the Berlin Wall drama “The Tunnels,” based on a book proposal by Greg Mitchell. Mark Gordon (“The Messenger,” “Saving Private Ryan”) will produce and it”s unclear if Greengrass will pen the script or direct from another writer”s work.
“Paul and I have been looking for a project to work on together for some time,” Gordon told Variety. “Separately, we have both been fascinated by stories around the Berlin Wall. While the wall fell in 1989, its consequences are still being felt today. We are thrilled to be working with FilmNation to bring this emotional story to the screen.”
According to the report, “The Tunnels” tells the true story of a major escape plot occurring before the Berlin Wall fell in 1989. The film follows “a group of West Germans trying to get their loved ones out of East Berlin, with the unlikely help of American news networks, who funded their expedition.” Mitchell makes a great partner for the fact-obsessed Greengrass. A seasoned journalist, his previous books include “Atomic Cover-Up: Two U.S. Soldiers, Hiroshima & Nagasaki, and The Greatest Movie Never Made” and “The Age of Wikileaks.”
”Captain Phillips” was a major hit for Greengrass, earning over $107 million domestically and Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Director, Supporting Actor (Barkhad Abdi), Adapted Screenplay, and several below-the-line honors. In the wake of success, Greengrass could do pretty much anything. Which project will wind up as his follow-up?
Follow the red ball as he places it under this cup…