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Universal pulls the plug on ‘Memphis’

Paul Greengrass' Martin Luther King Jr. pic halted at studio

Universal has decided to drop development of “Memphis,” a project about the days leading up to the 1968 assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Project has been developed with Paul Greengrass (“The Green Zone”) attached to direct and Scott Rudin producing; they have been informed that they can take the project elsewhere.

Studio confirmed Friday night that it had decided to back off the project but didn’t elaborate. A source close to the project indicated that Universal execs had been attempting to find a way to meet an aggressive timeline but were unable to make that work.

King had gone to Memphis, Tenn., in support of striking black sanitation workers after his flight had been delayed by a bomb threat. On April 3, King delivered the “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” address and was killed the next day.

“Memphis” is the third project that Universal’s dropped in recent weeks. Studio pulled the plug this week on plans to turn “In the Heights” into a movie. Based on the Broadway musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda, pic would have starred Miranda, with Kenny Ortega set to direct and Quiara Alegria Hudes, the play’s original scribe, penning the script.

U also decided in mid-March to ditch Guillermo del Toro’s “At the Mountains of Madness” — a film that would cost around $150 million to make with del Toro insisting that the pic be rated R.

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