Aaron Sorkin’s writing, whether for film or TV, has always been of the very highest calibre. Everything from A Few Good Men and The American President, through The West Wing and The Newsroom up to The Social Network, Charlie Wilson’s War and Moneyball – there is such an intelligence and richness to how he writes, even if at times he seems to revel in his own cleverness a little too much.
One of Sorkin’s scripts that has yet to see the light of day is The Trial of the Chicago Seven, a true-life story about the trial of a number (possibly seven) of protestors who took part in violent demonstrations at the 1968 Democratic Convention. In Chicago. Sorkin wrote the script some six years ago, with Spielberg originally set to direct once he wrapped on Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls. That fell through and a year later Ben Stiller was circling to direct, with he and Sorkin even spending some time working on the script together.
In the end budget concerns by DreamWorks (who had commissioned the script and are still financing the film in its new incarnation) put the film into turnaround and it has taken until now for anything further to happen.
Paul Greengrass is putting the finishing touches to his Somali pirate film, Captain Phillips, after which he looks set to start on Chicago 7, although he was set to move onto “Memphis” his MLK biopic, so we’re not quite sure how all of that will fit together.
With a rich and volatile period of US history under the microscope for Chicago 7 (Black Panthers, anti-war demonstrators, hippies and counter-culturals all got caught up in what turned into a week-long street riot), Sorkin’s mastery of politics and courtroom drama and Greengrass’s proven track record with true-life drama (Green Zone, United 93), this should be a quality match-up.