Ben Stiller Might Direct Sorkin's The Trial of the Chicago 7?!
by Alex Billington
October 22, 2008
Ready for a surprise? Apparently Ben Stiller is looking at potentially directing DreamWorks' upcoming film The Trial of the Chicago 7 about the 1968 Democratic National Convention riots and subsequent trials. At one point, Steven Spielberg was in talks to the direct the film, as was Paul Greengrass, but things have since changed. Ever since Paramount and DreamWorks broke up, its left both studios scrambling for films. Paramount has the entire Marvel slate, but DreamWorks is looking for some big projects to ramp up into project right away - The Trial of the Chicago 7 is one of them. Stiller isn't officially signed on, with Variety reporting that "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."
The Trial of the Chicago 7 was written by Aaron Sorkin, of A Few Good Men and Charlie Wilson's War previously. It's a very high profile project that once had Sacha Baron Cohen attached to star as the hippie leader Abbie Hoffman (we can't say whether or not that is still the case). DreamWorks is courting Ben Stiller's production company Red Hour Films in hopes of securing their allegiance. Stiller last directed Tropic Thunder and Zoolander before that, but has never touched something with a serious subject matter or something as politically charged as this. In the right hands, The Trial of the Chicago 7 could actually be a great historical film and I was initially looking forward to Spielberg's take. I really don't know if Stiller is a good fit, but I guess I would say that direction in Tropic Thunder seemed fairly good. Could he pull it off?