May 19, 2009

Steven Spielberg bringing a Martin Luther King Jr. Biopic to the big screen?

Indeed he is, according to Variety:
DreamWorks has acquired the life rights to Martin Luther King Jr. and is bringing a biopic on the slain civil rights leader to the bigscreen.
Steven Spielberg, Suzanne de Passe and Madison Jones will produce.
King, who was assassinated in 1968 in Memphis at the age of 39, copyrighted his speeches, books and famous works during his lifetime. The DreamWorks project marks the first film to be authorized by King's estate and gives the producers the right to utilize King's intellectual property -- including his famous "I Have a Dream" speech delivered during the 1963 March on Washington -- to create the definitive portrait of his life.
"We are all honored that the King Estate is giving us the opportunity to tell the story of these defining, historic events," Spielberg said. "It is our hope that the creative power of film and the impact of Dr. King's life can combine to present a story of undeniable power that we can all be proud of."
A King film has been a longtime dream for Spielberg and DreamWorks CEO and co-chairman Stacey Snider, who has been working feverishly on acquiring the rights since exiting Paramount Pictures and setting up a solo enterprise.
King's son Dexter, who is chairman and CEO of the King Estate, has been embroiled in a legal tussle with his siblings Bernice King and Martin Luther King III over who controls the personal papers of their late mother, Coretta Scott King, among other things.
King, who was the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to end racial segregation and discrimination, was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2004.
"In trying to tackle such an ambitious project, the question we had to ask ourselves is, 'Why now?' " Snider said. "The answer lies in MLK's own words: 'All progress is precarious.' With every step forward, new obstacles emerge and we must never forget that his life and his teachings continue to challenge us every day to stand up to hatred and inequality."
De Passe was an executive producer on the miniseries "Lonesome Dove."
Jones has been a central figure in developing and managing the intellectual property of King. He also exec produced "King: Montgomery to Memphis" for CNN and "Assassinated: Bobby Kennedy & Martin Luther King, Jr." for TBS.
Jones and de Passe co-produced the 2009 Commander in Chief's Inaugural Ball.
-You have to wonder if Spielberg will end up directing this, but for now, pretend you have the say...who would you pick to write this, direct this, and play MLK?
-I'll throw in my two cents right now and say that Spielberg would be a fine choice for directing, but if not him, I'd go with Frank Darabount (who could also write it) or Cameron Crowe (same for writing), with Cuba Gooding Jr. getting his career back on track playing King. Feel free to mock my picks in the comment section...


  1. Spike Lee and Don Cheadle

  2. not bad Joey, not bad at all

  3. i'd prefer an unknown but they'd probably go with terrance howard or jamie foxx again.

  4. this seems like a surefire Oscar project

  5. what about John Singleton and Chiwetel Ejiofor?

  6. I personally have been mulling a MLK biopic myself as a filmmaker, so its kind of eerie and cool that they are doing it.

    I would pick Speilberg to direct, and Lawrence Fishburne to play MLK himself. Fishburne doesn't look a lot like MLK, but he has the presence to pull it off. For references, see his speech before the creepy rave ogry in the second Matrix film, as well as his work in Othello and general performances. There's a presence t him that is undeniable.

  7. believe it or not, me and Myles have discussed this as well many times as a fantasy project of sorts