Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Martin Luther King Jr biopic in the works

Steven Spielberg is set to produce the upcoming biopic for DreamWorks. It will be the first film authorized by King's estate, and producers will be able to incorporate King's speeches into the film.

"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."

"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." [Variety via Awards Daily]

As usual, I'm trying to cast this project in my head. Jeffrey Wright played MLK flawlessly in the HBO film Boycott, so I think it'll be hard for me to imagine anyone else in the role. Would Spielberg hire Wright to play him again sort of the way Michael Sheen gets hired to play Tony Blair? Who knows? There have been other suggestions going around with everyone from Don Cheadle to Terrence Howard (who also starred in Boycott with Wright) to Chiwetel Ejiofor. Ejiofor would be a pretty great choice I think, but I wonder how people would feel about a British actor playing an American hero.

The other typical names are getting thrown around as well (mostly because you can count the amount of famous black actors in Hollywood on your hand): Will Smith, Jamie Foxx, and Denzel Washington. I doubt that I could get excited by any of those three actors mostly because they've all done their share of biopics, and because none of them actually seems to fit the part. There hasn't been an official release date announced yet, so there will be a lot of time to speculate.

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