Oliver Stone and Jamie Foxx in Talks to Reteam for Martin Luther King Jr. Biopic

     October 10, 2013


Filmmaker Oliver Stone has his sights set on tackling the life of another historical figure.  The Alexander and W. filmmaker is in early talks to direct a biopic about the life of Martin Luther King Jr., with his Any Given Sunday star Jamie Foxx in talks to star.  The project is set up at DreamWorks and is expected to have the support of King’s family, unlike director Paul Greengrass’ long-developing MLK film Memphis, which provides a three-dimensional warts-and-all look at Dr. King on his final days.  Hit the jump for more on this new project, including how it might affect Greengrass’ film.

jamie-foxx-martin-luther-king-jrNews of Stone and Foxx’s involvement in an MLK biopic comes courtesy of The Wrap, which reports that the DreamWorks film has a screenplay by Kario Salem.  There’s no word on whether this will be a cradle-to-grave biopic like Foxx’s Ray or if it will focus on a specific period in Dr. King’s life, but the film is expected to have the full support of the King family and that may go a long way to finally getting a Martin Luther King biopic off the ground.  The involvement of Stone isn’t exactly promising, though, as the filmmaker’s recent output has been somewhat lacking.

Greengrass has been trying for years to get Memphis made with producer Scott Rudin, but the disapproval of the King family has made it difficult for him to get a studio involved with the right budget.  That being said, movement on Stone’s picture might ignite a bit of a rat race should another studio decide to back Memphis, which really sounds like a compelling portrait of the historical figure and would come with high expectations given the intensely positive reception Greengrass’ latest film Captain Phillips is receiving.

Director Ava DuVernay is also developing an MLK film of her own called Selma with David Oyelowo (The Butler) set to play King, but the names of Stone and Foxx add significant degree of starpower to the DreamWorks project.  Stone is just coming off of last year’s underwhelming Savages, but Foxx is enjoying a string of high profile roles with Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained and a villainous turn in next year’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2.  The actor is currently filming director Will Gluck’s (Easy A) reboot of Annie.

Should Stone and Foxx close their deals for the Martin Luther King film, I expect we’ll hear more news about the project soon.


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  • CJ

    Horrible news! Jeffrey Wright should have been offered the role. Also, since when has Oliver Stone directed a good movie!!!

    • markfive

      Um. Stone’s made plenty of great films: “Salvador”, “Platoon”, “JFK”, “Born on the Fourth of July”, “Talk Radio”, etc., etc. If you dislike his filmography, I can’t argue with you, as it’s a matter of personal taste, I guess. He’s made bad films, too, of course – but the vast majority of his early work is brilliant. He just hasn’t made a great film since then, unfortunately. But I do agree with you that Jeffrey Wright should play King – absolutely.

  • jack

    Spike Lee will not be having this

  • Mixed Race rich kid NYC

    I hope spike lee starts a riot and get the directing gig
    In the other hand spike lee is a big fan of Oliver stone and paul greengrass so I don’t think he will mind them directing a MLK film
    To tell you the true I’m more interested to Ava duvernay version

  • Mezmero

    I can’t stand Hollywood when it comes to anything in black history.
    They never get it right why not pick an unknown black actor to play him?

  • Chris Hall

    Neat! Wonder what role Mr. Foxx will be playing…

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