Oliver Stone Drops Off the Martin Luther King Jr. Biopic Over Disagreement with King's Family

Oliver Stone Drops Off the Martin Luther King Jr. Biopic Over Disagreement with King's Family

Jan 20, 2014

In October, with the success of Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln still bright in their minds, it was reported that DreamWorks and Warner Bros. were in talks with Oliver Stone and Jamie Foxx to direct and star, respectively, in an untitled Martin Luther King Jr. biopic. The project had been lingering in development since 2009, but it seemed like the drama about the African-American civil rights leader’s rise to power and his 1968 assassination would finally come to pass. Spielberg had signed on as a coproducer, and Stone, of course, is no stranger to historical tales with the praise and controversy of his JFK and W. being well documented. But plans have recently changed.

On the eve of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the director announced that he is no longer writing or directing a biopic about the slain humanitarian and activist. Stone took to Twitter to share details about his rewrite of the script, which dealt with “issues of adultery, conflicts within the movement, and King’s spiritual transformation into a higher, more radical being.” After the media circus surrounding Stone’s JFK, regarding the alleged “absurdities and palpable untruths in Garrison's book and Stone's rendition of it,” the director’s approach with the MLK project isn’t surprising. “I’m told the estate & the ‘respectable’ black community that guard King’s reputation won't approve it. They suffocate the man & the truth,” Stone added.

You can read the rest of his tweets on the matter, below. The fate of the film is in DreamWorks and Warner Bros.' hands. Whether the studio decides to tackle any of Stone’s subjects or sanitizes the script altogether remains to be seen. We just hope we'll get to peek at Stone's draft one day.





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