According to Risky Biz Blog, Stacey Snider and Steven Spielberg’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. biopic has finally taken a step forward by hiring playwright and screenwriter Ronald Harwood to pen the project. Harwood’s previous credits include The Diving Bell and the Butterfly and The Pianist. Since this is the first King biopic to be officially authorized by the King estate, he’ll have access to all of the copyrighted material from King’s life including speeches, books, and other works. Spielberg is attached to produce but not direct.
I have trouble being excited for this project because Snider, Spielberg, and Harwood are all white people. Biz notes that Harwood is a strong choice for the assignment due to his previous screenplays and, “at 75 years old, the South Africa-born writer lived through the late 1950’s and ’60’s, when King’s oratory and influence inspired a massive civil rights movement until his murder in 1968.” Really? That’s all it took? Accomplished screenwriter who was around during the 50s and 60s. Wow. I don’t want to diminish the universal effect Dr. King’s work had on our country, but this all feels slightly off to me. I’m sure some of you disagree so please sound off in our comments section.