James Jones: Movie about Martin Luther King Jr. in the works

Published 2:04 pm Monday, May 6, 2024

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A movie about Civil Rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. is finally in the works.

According to various media reports, Universal Pictures is involved in a new movie based on Jonathan Eig’s biography, “King A Life.”  Regarding books on MLK, none come close to Elg, who goes deep into who the civil rights activist was.

Comedian Chris Rock is reportedly in talks to serve as director and producer of the project, while Steven Spielberg has signed on as an executive producer. No casting has been made because the film is still in development. 

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For years, I’ve said that a biopic about MLK is long overdue. The “Selma” movie had its moments, but MLK needed his own story.

From where I sit, the MLK movie is in good hands with Rock and Spielberg. 

Rock is well-known as a stellar comedian but he has directing experience. Rock directed Head of State (2003), I Think I Love My Wife (2007), and Top Five (2014). Rock has a reputation for working well with others. 

Fifteen years ago, Spielberg and his company DreamWorksSKG obtained a license from MLK’s estate to use his copyrighted speeches in a film. The movie at the time was canceled, but Spielberg kept the copyright. He also obtained filmmaking access to Dr. King’s life and intellectual property. MLK’s actual speeches and words may be used in the upcoming film.

Word has it that executors of MLK’s estate, his children Bernice, Dexter, and Martin, are very selective about the licensing rights. It seems they approve of Spielberg and so do I. I’ve always been a fan of Spielberg. 

Also, Spielberg was impressed with actor David Oyelowo’s portrayal of MLK in Selma and reportedly asked him for the lead role. Oyelowo has not confirmed, and I hope he says yes.

No doubt, the City of Selma must be a big part of the movie because MLK led the Selma to Montgomery March between March 21 and March 25, 1965. 

Of course, John Lewis must be portrayed in the movie for leading the historic “Bloody Sunday” march on March 7, 1965, eventually leading to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. 

With Speilberg and Rock at the helm, this movie has the potential to win Academy Awards. I’m looking forward to hearing more.