Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Steele: 'How to Get Away w/ Murder' & 'Black-ish' - the Good & the Bad Steele: 'How to Get Away w/ Murder' & 'Black-ish' - the Good & the Bad Watch First Trailer for 'Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B' (Premieres Saturday, 11/15) Watch First Trailer for 'Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B' (Premieres Saturday, 11/15) "Randy, Red Superfreak and Julia" - 'Scandal' Season 4 Premiere Recap "Randy, Red Superfreak and Julia" - 'Scandal' Season 4 Premiere Recap Shonda Rhimes Night Is a Big Success for ABC. 'How to Get Away With Murder" Draws 14 Million Viewers Total Shonda Rhimes Night Is a Big Success for ABC. 'How to Get Away With Murder" Draws 14 Million Viewers Total 'How to Get Away with Murder' Episode 1 Recap + Your Thoughts... 'How to Get Away with Murder' Episode 1 Recap + Your Thoughts... Read What YOU Thought About 'Black-ish' After Last Night's Premiere... Read What YOU Thought About 'Black-ish' After Last Night's Premiere... 5 Netflix Streaming Titles You May Not Know Are Available & May Want to Check Out (9/23/14) 5 Netflix Streaming Titles You May Not Know Are Available & May Want to Check Out (9/23/14) Awkward Black Girl's Next Misadventure: Her Own Studio Awkward Black Girl's Next Misadventure: Her Own Studio 101-Year-Old Film Footage Found in Museum's Collection Is Earliest-Known Feature Made w/ Black Actors. First Public Screening in Nov. 101-Year-Old Film Footage Found in Museum's Collection Is Earliest-Known Feature Made w/ Black Actors. First Public Screening in Nov. 'Drumline: A New Beat' (Sequel to the 2002 Film) Gets a Premiere Date + New Trailer (Watch It) 'Drumline: A New Beat' (Sequel to the 2002 Film) Gets a Premiere Date + New Trailer (Watch It) Watch First Episode of ABC's New Series 'Black-ish' Now Watch First Episode of ABC's New Series 'Black-ish' Now 'Terror at the Mall,' Documentary on Siege of Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Coming to HBO (Trailer) 'Terror at the Mall,' Documentary on Siege of Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Coming to HBO (Trailer) Thankfully, 'The Equalizer' Gets an "R" Rating From the MPAA (No Surprise Here) Thankfully, 'The Equalizer' Gets an "R" Rating From the MPAA (No Surprise Here) Early Reviews Say 'How To Get Away With Murder' is Very Much in the Style of 'Scandal.' Good Thing or Not? Early Reviews Say 'How To Get Away With Murder' is Very Much in the Style of 'Scandal.' Good Thing or Not? Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) ABC Is Making Changes To The Next-Day Online Availability Of Its Series ABC Is Making Changes To The Next-Day Online Availability Of Its Series Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Exclusive: Omari Hardwick Raw (Career Evolution, Transition, Testimony Of Faith In Hollywood, 'Kick-Ass 2,' More) Exclusive: Omari Hardwick Raw (Career Evolution, Transition, Testimony Of Faith In Hollywood, 'Kick-Ass 2,' More)

Martin Luther King Jr Was Born Today; Which Of These 5 Film Projects On His Life Will We See First?

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act January 15, 2013 at 1:26PM

Today in history, January 15, 1929, Martin Luther King Jr was born in Atlanta, GA.
5
MLK

Today in history, January 15, 1929, Martin Luther King Jr was born in Atlanta, GA.

As far as we know, there are at least 5 film projects in the works based on either the life of MLK, or some significant period during his 39 years on this planet; most recently announced, and most likely to be made first, is the Paul Greengrass-directed MLK assassination pic, Memphis, which was once a sure-thing, but the studio backing it, Universal Pictures, later backed out of financing and distributing the film; word on the street was that pressure from the MLK estate to call off the project, because they were unhappy with the script, was one of the reasons.

The film, which was supposed to focus on the events leading up to King’s assassination in Memphis, Tennessee, while he was trying to organize the city’s sanitation workers in spring of 1968, was to begin shooting in 2011, for an early 2012 release. Obviously, that didn't happening.

In November of last year, our last update on the project, it was announced that the film was alive again, with French distribution company Wild Bunch getting behind it, and super producer Scott Rudin producing, after almost a year in hiatus, and it just might be up next for Greengrass. 

Deadline said that they had read the script, and called it "Oscar caliber stuff."

But chances are, if the script they were going to go with before is the same that they'll go with this time around, it looks like it'll be one of those biopics that is made without the approval of those protecting the image of the subject.

The other MLK projects in the works include, of course, Lee Daniels’ Selma (currently in limbo, and very likely dead, due to financing issues, as well as the very same reasons Greengrass' project has stalled - the King estate being unhappy with the script); then there's Oprah’s HBO miniseries (which you'd think would be a go, although no ETA yet); there's also the Steven Spielberg/DreamWorks project that has the backing of King’s estate (likely will also push forward; after all, it's Spielberg and Dreamworks, and it has the backing of the estate. It may just be a matter of when), and Wesley Snipes’ planned exploration of J. Edgar Hoover’s campaign to discredit MLK, and the fallout that followed, titled Code Name Zorro (he's still in prison, right? So, I wouldn't be looking for this one anytime soon).

In a related project, Malik Yoba is playing MLK opposite Angela Bassett, as Coretta Scott King in the Lifetime original movie projectBetty And Coretta. Although it's not a film that's centered on MLK specifically.

As noted, one of the reasons for the holdup in the production of those 2 rather high-profile MLK film projects - both which would (reportedly) emphasize MLK's vices, and not just revel in hagiography - was Andrew Young's objections - the civil rights activist, member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) during the 60s Civil Rights Movement, a supporter and good friend of Martin Luther King, Jr., who played a key role in the events in BirminghamAlabama, was a strategist and negotiator that influenced the passage of the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act. And also, he was with MLK in MemphisTennessee, when he was assassinated in 1968.

Young reportedly objected to scripts which included scenes of marital infidelity during MLK's final days, among other "vices."

I haven't heard much about what Spielberg's or Oprah's MLK projects contain in terms of content; given that both seem to be near-sure-things (especially the Spielberg project which has the backing of the King estate); I can only assume that both of those projects are, shall we say, more wholesome, family-friendly tellings of MLK's life.

But, thus far, none of the projects mentioned above is in production, as far as I know, so, anything's possible; let's see which of these makes it first to the finish line.


Shadow & ActNewsletter