XIXAX Film Forum

Film Discussion => The Vault => Topic started by: MacGuffin on July 12, 2007, 04:42:02 PM

Title: The Trial of the Chicago 7
Post by: MacGuffin on July 12, 2007, 04:42:02 PM
Sorkin on 'Trial' at DreamWorks
Duo to team on possible Spielberg project
Source: Variety
DreamWorks has made a deal with Aaron Sorkin to write three films, the first of which will be “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” a drama that Steven Spielberg hopes to direct.

The drama focuses on the trials of protestors at the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago, where clashes between demonstrators and police made it one of the defining events of the '60s.

Spielberg and producers Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald have been developing the film with Sorkin for some time.

The celebrated scribe’s credits range from the NBC drama “The West Wing” to the stage play “A Few Good Men,” which he scripted into a hit movie. Sorkin most recently adapted the George Crile book “Charlie Wilson’s War” into a Playtone-produced Mike Nichols-directed film that stars Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

“The quality of (Aaron’s) work speaks to the kind of movies we want to make here at DreamWorks and we couldn’t be happier to have him in our filmmaker family,” said DreamWorks CEO and co-chairman Stacey Snider, who announced the deal.
Title: Re: The Trial of the Chicago 7
Post by: polkablues on July 13, 2007, 04:37:32 AM
Hey, another movie that Steven Spielberg will end up not directing!
Title: Re: The Trial of the Chicago 7
Post by: MacGuffin on December 31, 2007, 10:10:54 AM
No more jokes as Borat turns war protester
Source: The Sunday Times

THE creator of Ali G and Borat has been persuaded by Steven Spielberg to move from comedy to serious politics by playing a hippie opponent of the Vietnam war.

In The Trial of the Chicago Seven, Sacha Baron Cohen will portray Abbie Hoffman, a figure from the 1960s counterculture who used a series of pranks to campaign against the war. Baron Cohen is expected to be paid about £3m for the film.

Baron Cohen, 36, became famous in Britain for his Ali G persona in the 1990s but won international acclaim with last year’s film Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. He has now “retired” his Borat character.

The Spielberg film is said to be closer to Munich, the director’s exploration of the morality of political assassination, based on the 1972 terrorist attack on the Olympic Games, than to his next Indiana Jones frolic, due in the summer.

The Trial of the Chicago Seven follows protesters who disrupted the 1968 Democrat party convention with an anti-Vietnam-war “carnival” that turned nasty. Demonstrators threw bricks, police responded with tear gas and the centre of Chicago was engulfed in flames. Curfews only escalated the violence.

After the clashes, independent investigators blamed eight police officers and eight protesters including Hoffman, who had already disrupted the New York Stock Exchange with showers of fake money.

The police were not charged but the protesters were accused of inciting a riot. One was jailed for contempt, leaving the seven to fight the charges.

It was, said the late writer Norman Mailer, who testified for the seven, a noisy televised clash between the old order and the burgeoning counterculture.

Hoffman went on to become an irascible celebrity who, later diagnosed with a bipolar disorder, killed himself with pills in 1989.

Baron Cohen will not have to undergo a big transformation to play the part. Hoffman, who was Jewish, attended Berkeley University in California, while Baron Cohen, an urbane Orthodox Jew more than 6ft tall, cut his teeth entertaining friends at Christ’s College Cambridge with subversive wit and surreal pranks.

Baron Cohen is already planning a return to the screen in the guise of Bruno, a camp Austrian fashion show presenter with an unpleasant line in Nazi jokes. It is reported he will receive a £7m advance and 15% of box-office receipts for the role, a record for a British comedian.

He is still fighting writs for slander and fraud from several people lampooned in the Borat movie, including the villagers of Glod in Romania where the opening sections of the film were shot.
Title: Re: The Trial of the Chicago 7
Post by: modage on December 31, 2007, 12:39:50 PM
The Spielberg film is said to be closer to Munich, the director’s exploration of the morality of political assassination, based on the 1972 terrorist attack on the Olympic Games, than to his next Indiana Jones frolic, due in the summer.
how condescending is frolic
Title: Re: The Trial of the Chicago 7
Post by: Gamblour. on January 01, 2008, 01:50:50 PM
Title: Re: The Trial of the Chicago 7
Post by: MacGuffin on January 15, 2008, 10:08:21 AM
Two More for Spielberg's Seven?
Daniels, Hanks reportedly headed to Chicago.

Director Steven Spielberg is reportedly eyeing two more actors for the ensemble cast of his first post-Indy IV project, the fact-based The Trial of the Chicago 7.

According to CHUD.com, Spielberg wants Jeff Daniels (Speed, The Lookout) to play trial defendant Dave Dellinger and King Kong co-star Colin Hanks (son of Saving Private Ryan star Tom) to portray SDS member Rennie Davis.

CHUD also claims "that the whole Sacha Baron Cohen as Abbie Hoffman thing is no done deal." The site's not sure if it's a matter of money or scheduling, "but apparently the folks behind the scenes aren't sure that they're going to be able to get him after all."

Emmy winner Aaron Sorkin (West Wing, Charlie Wilson's War) penned the screenplay for The Trial of the Chicago 7.
Title: Re: The Trial of the Chicago 7
Post by: cinemanarchist on February 23, 2008, 02:04:50 PM
Source: Hollywood Elsewhere

Collider's Steve Weintraub is reporting that Steven Spielberg has bailed out of directing the Trial of the Chicago 7 movie, but Deadline Hollywood Daily's Nikki Finke is reporting that Spielberg "has backed off setting an April start date...and won't finalize a new start date until the Screen Actors Guild and AMPTP agree on a deal," in part because he feels that Aaron Sorkin's script needs more work.

I called Spielberg spokesperson Marvin Levy at the start of lunch hour to check on this, but all I got was a message machine. And then Levy didn't feel obliged to call back. Nice!

I've been saying that the marriage of Spielberg and the Chicago 7 story is a bad idea since early January. (Even with a reputedly "great" script by Sorkin and rumors about Will Smith playing Bobby Seale and Sacha Baron Cohen playing Abbie Hoffman, etc.

Finke seems to have a more acurate version of the story. Weintraub says he's (a) confirmed the Spielberg bail-out with two sources and (b) believes that CHUD's Devin Faraci having written that Spielberg was the wrong guy to direct it may have been a factor. (Don't think so!) The movie has been listed on the IMDB as being in pre-production, which of course means nothing.

Interesting timing (if the story's true) in view of the opening of Brett Morgen's Chicago 10, which tells the same story with animation and whatnot, opening just around the corner on 2.29.

Make the Abraham Lincoln movie with Liam Neeson. Make the Abraham Lincoln movie with Liam Neeson. Make the friggin' Abraham Lincoln movie with Liam Neeson already! (that's Jeff Wells...not me.)
Title: Re: The Trial of the Chicago 7
Post by: MacGuffin on October 23, 2008, 01:08:51 AM
Ben Stiller among 'Chicago' contenders
Is DreamWorks mulling a laugh riot as it considers directors?
Source: Hollywood Reporter

"The Trial of the Chicago 7," the DreamWorks project about the 1968 riots at the Democratic convention and their aftermath, is a high priority for the newly configured studio and is moving forward quickly.

The latest well-known director who has met on the project is Ben Stiller; while the discussions for Stiller to helm the film are very much at the exploratory stage, the actor and DreamWorks are mulling whether such a pairing would work for both parties. A "Chicago" gig would mark a departure for Stiller, who has directed such successful comedies as "Tropic Thunder" and "Zoolander," but has not helmed a serious political picture of this kind before.

Stiller follows several other notables who have been associated with directing the Amblin-MacDonald/Parkes project, including Paul Greengrass, who was a candidate during the summer, and even Steven Spielberg, who at one time was considering helming the picture.

Under terms of the DW-Par separation agreement, DreamWorks has taken over development of the project. The Aaron Sorkin-penned "Chicago," which was being eyed for a spring '08 shoot, is on a very short list of projects that the company wants to put into production quickly.

As for Stiller's potential involvement, DreamWorks could be eager to keep the hyphenate happy as the company moves into its financing deal with Reliance and hopes to take Stiller production shingle Red Hour Films with it.
Title: Re: The Trial of the Chicago 7
Post by: MacGuffin on July 23, 2013, 05:59:41 PM
Paul Greengrass In Final Talks To Direct Aaron Sorkin’s ‘Chicago 7′ Screenplay: DreamWorks Proceeds Without Spielberg
BY NIKKI FINKE, Editor in Chief

EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that DreamWorks is finally reviving a once hot project that has barely been touched since its director Steven Spielberg suspended it back in 2008. Conventional wisdom had it that this would be Spielberg’s next Oscar pic. Since then, “every two months it’s been revisited. The title would come up in conversation at production meetings. But it’s just been hanging,” a source tells me. No longer. I’ve learned the studio is moving forward with Paul Greengrass in final talks to direct Aaron Sorkin‘s script The Trial Of The Chicago 7. It’s based on the infamous 1969 federal conspiracy trial arising out of the protesters vs police violent rioting at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago that transfixed the nation because of its counter-culture and leftist mayhem intended to undermine the U.S. government.

The modestly budgeted $20M-$30M film will start production probably in January. DreamWorks is funding all development with its financial partners, and Disney will distribute. No casting is in discussion yet because the deal isn’t done for Greengrass (United 93, The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum, Green Zone). His upcoming Captain Phillips biopic starring Tom Hanks about a sea hijacking by Somali pirates has great advance buzz at Sony. Plus, as a former British journalist and filmmaker attracted to true stories, Greengrass sounds like the right director for Chicago 7 and was considered to helm it back in August 2008.

So here’s the background: On July 12, 2007, Sorkin signed a deal with DreamWorks to write three scripts, the first of which was Chicago 7. Sorkin already was developing the project with Spielberg to direct, and Walter Parkes & Laurie MacDonald to produce. Spielberg just after he finished work on Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull was so enthused he discussed it with showbiz folks and journalists every chance he got and was working every day with Sorkin on the script. After the Writers Strike November 5, 2007-February 12, 2008, the pic was given an April start date. But some feared (unnecessarily) that a Screen Actors Guild strike would begin next. Spielberg cited that as the reason he pushed back the start date again and again. Until finally the director decided to move on.

Just before then, Spielberg told Vanity Fair that “we’re in the process right now on Chicago 7 of doing a feasibility study of what actors are available”. News had leaked that he’d approached Will Smith to play Bobby Seale. He planned to meet with Heath Ledger about the role of Tom Hayden. When VF visited Spielberg at his Amblin Entertainment office, on a side table lay “headshots of actors under consideration. Among them Will Smith, Taye Diggs, Adam Arkin, and Kevin Spacey; Sacha Baron Cohen (as Abbie Hoffman) and Philip Seymour Hoffman (as civil liberties defense lawyer William Kunstler).” But the only actor confirmed was Baron Cohen to play Abbie Hoffman.

Chicago 7 was next revived later in 2008. As previously mentioned, Greengrass was a possibility as a director that August. Then Ben Stiller, whose Red Hour Films had just worked with DreamWorks on Tropic Thunder which Stiller wrote, produced, and directed. That fall, Stiller labored with Sorkin on the Chicago 7 script with the intent to helm it. ”They got together and worked hard on it. And there was even a read-through. But Sorkin and Ben didn’t crack it, the pic was going to be too expensive for DreamWorks, and Sorkin went on to The Social Network,” I’m told.

The pic, of course, is based on the 1968 Democratic National Convention when anti-war, counter-culture, Yippie, Black Panther, and other protesters battled the Chicago Police Department in what became week-long street rioting witnessed live on television by a worldwide audience. A year later the Nixon administration tried the most prominent activists on charges they conspired to incite the violence. Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, John Froines, and Lee Weiner were represented by attorneys William Kunstler and Leonard Weinglass of the Center For Constitutional Rights. An 8th defendant, Bobby Seale, co-chair of the Black Panther Party, wound up infamously bound, gagged and handcuffed to his chair by presiding U.S. District Judge Julius Hoffman until his trial was severed during the proceedings. Seale was ordered to serve 5 years in prison for contempt of court.

The Chicago 7 trial lasted months and created headlines, especially with many well-known names from the American left called to testify including folk singers Phil Ochs, Judy Collins and Arlo Guthrie, writers Norman Mailer and Allen Ginsberg, and activists Timothy Leary and Jesse Jackson. On February 18, 1970, all 7 defendants were found not guilty of conspiracy. Froines and Weiner were acquitted completely, while the remaining 5 were convicted of crossing state lines with the intent to incite a riot, and sentenced to 5 years in prison. Two years later, all the convictions were reversed on appeal.