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Oliver Stone Exits Martin Luther King Biopic, Says Estate Wouldn't Approve His Warts And All Script

by Kevin Jagernauth
January 17, 2014 4:48 PM
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The Martin Luther King Jr. movie seems to be the white whale of biopics. No less than three different attempts to bring the iconic civil rights leader to the big screen are currently underway, but one of them has just lost a director. Last fallDreamWorks revealed they were putting together an MLK project and eyeing Oliver Stone to direct, with Jamie Foxx in the lead role, and none other than Steven Spielberg putting his weight behind the movie as a producer. But it seems that once again, the King estate has kiboshed a film that won't show the man in anything less than a perfect light.

Stone hit Twitter today to announce he had left the project and provided details on his script, which would have shown both the herosim and flaws of MLK, and those around him. Here's what Stone had to say:

A bit of a bummer, but perhaps not a total surprise. Paul Greengrass' "Memphis" ran afoul of the estate back in 2011 for similar reasons when he was first trying to mount the movie, and their concerns wound up forcing Universal to kibosh the film (Greengrass does still intend to make the biopic, though he has recently said it will likely be after he does another movie first). And Lee Daniels' "Selma" (recently taken over by Ava DuVernay) also ran into the same sorts of problems a few years ago too.

So we'll see what the next move is for DreamWorks, but it would seem no one is going to make this movie without the tacit approval of the MLK estate, who have proven exacting in how they want the man portrayed. Thoughts? Do you think an MLK biopic can be made that's both true to the man, while satisfying the needs of his family? Let us know below.
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  • ITTY UP | January 21, 2014 7:29 AMReply

    2014 Globalist MAFIA run, franchise slum Hollywood
    has less depth than a dixie cup.

    STONE's flubbed his 9/11 and 'W' projects.

    He's been ---SILENT--- on the awesomely unfolding
    implications of Globalist MAFIA ---RED China set up and handover.

    Even NOW he has yet to so much as mention
    the KEY terms USURY and EUGENICS.

    He's BALKED some 4 decades of milestone anniversaries
    for the now AWESOMELY significant ----KOREAN WAR.

    He has even remained lockstep 'on board'
    with the GE FUKISHIMA North American DEPOP kickoff.

    STEER CLEAR the workings of Oliver 'CAP---Stone'.


  • Steven | January 17, 2014 7:26 PMReply

    Good, another crappy bio-pic is spared from the world. Oliver Stone is washed-up and doesn't have what it takes anymore to make a good movie.

  • Adam Scott Thompson | January 17, 2014 10:09 PM

    Granted, the man has been off his game of late, but he's probably the one person "bout it" enough to actually do a for-real biopic about MLK.

    King initially wanted nothing to do with the Civil Rights Movement. He just planned to take over as the don dada of his father's church and have a trophy wife on his arm. But he got involved and the rest is history (and myth).

    Still, he was known for being something of a whoremonger. He had hoes in different area codes. The night before he died -- when he delivered his "Promised Land" speech -- he visited his sideline chick in Memphis.

    Also, he and Malcolm X were sort of trading places when they both died (both at 39). Malcolm was softening his rhetoric and becoming more inclusive, moving away from black supremacy. Martin, on the other hand, was getting testy and starting to wade into other fights such as worker's rights (which is why he was in Memphis) -- even his writing had grown more militant.

    It is what it is, and I agree with Stone. If not him then someone needs to do a definitive, warts-and-all narrative on King. But until his more conservative descendants have passed on, we'll only get, as Stone said, more Hallmark, "We Shall Overcome" puff pieces.

  • CB | January 17, 2014 6:01 PMReply

    I wish the old Oliver Stone would return. I surely miss him.

  • skywater | January 17, 2014 5:28 PMReply

    it'd be more interesting if we could get the other side of the story

  • Brandon Harris | January 17, 2014 5:08 PMReply

    In a word, No.

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