LIH Editorial: MLK Biopic Update

20 Jan

Last year we surveyed a few Martin Luther King biopics that were in various development stages. Today as we remember Martin Luther King’s legacy we would also like to catch up on the films that might be coming to a theater near you.

1. Memphis– Director Paul Green Grass

Starring: Forrest Whitaker

“The script depicts Dr. King’s final days as he struggled to organize a protest march on behalf of striking black municipal sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was slain. That storyline is juxtaposed with an intense manhunt for King’s assassin James Earl Ray, involving some of the federal authorities who, at Hoover’s direction, had dogged King’s every step with wiretaps and whispering campaigns before the civil rights leader’s death.”

2. Selma– Director Ava DuVernay

Starring: David Oyelowo

“….a feature drama about Martin Luther King‘s 1965 landmark voting rights campaign regarded as the peak of the civil rights movement. She reportedly has been scouting locations and fine-tuning the script with screenwriter Paul Webb since April, and the producers are eager to get rolling in front of camera before similar MLK-themed projects can do the same. DuVernay was the first black woman to win Best Director at Sundance for her second feature, last year’s drama Middle Of Nowhere.” To read more go to

3. Code Name Zorro– Director (Unknown)

Starring: Wesley Snipes

“……the Snipes-produced project will reportedly revolve primarily around the experiences of former assistant FBI director William Sullivan, who was responsible for heading Code Name Zorro.

Sullivan eventually revealed the truth about his and the bureau’s actions to journalist Jack Taylor, but was killed in a hunting accident – the timing of which is naturally considered highly suspicious by conspiracy theorists – before he could testify about both the M.L.K. and J.F.K. assassinations in front of the U.S. House Select Committee.”

According to Shadow & Act the hold up is due to Andrew Young objection of the scripts which include scenes of marital infidelity;

“…… in the production of some of these MLK film projects was Andrew Young’s objection – 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 Birmingham, Alabama, was a strategist and negotiator that influenced the passage of the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act. He was also with MLK in Memphis, Tennessee, when he was assassinated in 1968.”

So far none of these films are in production.

Do you think the film should include MLK marital infidelity?


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