Hollywood has been attempting to get a biopic of Martin Luther King Jr. off the ground for years, with filmmakers such as Paul Greengrass to Oliver Stone attempting in vain to get an unflinching portrait of the civil rights leader made. While Greengrass still plans on getting to Memphis someday, MLK’s story will first be told on the small screen courtesy of HBO and The Wire creator David Simon. A six-hour miniseries adaptation of Taylor Branch’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book trilogy America: In the King Years in currently in the works at the network, which would delve deeply into the life of Martin Luther King Jr. Hit the jump for more.
Per Deadline, Simon will spearhead the miniseries adaptation America: In the King Years with his Treme co-creator Eric Overmyer. Also onboard is Oprah Winfrey, who will back and produce the event series despite the fact that she’s also producing a separate MLK Jr. feature film Selma with director Ava DuVernay. America: In the King Years chronicles the life of the civil rights leader from his first sermon in 1954 to his assassination in 1968. The book trilogy delves into the political dealings of MLK Jr. and the repercussions of his leadership, which seems like an absolutely perfect fit for someone like David Simon. The The Wire creator has a knack for bringing untold or underseen stories to the forefront by confronting viewers with the harsh realities of our country, and I’m certainly looking forward to seeing what parallels he can glean from Dr. King’s extraordinary life.
Simon is expected to write at least the first episode of the miniseries as well as the “bible” for the whole series, which he will oversee throughout its entirety. This news comes as Simon’s Treme concluded its fourth and final season on HBO last December.