DreamWorks to Produce New Martin Luther King Jr. Biopic
by Christopher Campbell
May 19, 2009
It's been more than 30 years since Abby Mann's Emmy-winning miniseries King, so it's about time someone made a feature biopic about Martin Luther King Jr., right? That someone just so happens to be Steven Spielberg, who will produce such a film for DreamWorks, along with Oscar-winning screenwriter Suzanne de Passe (Lady Sings the Blues) and her Humpty Dumpty co-producer Madison Jones. Though MLK has appeared as a character in many films since his assassination in 1968, this is apparently the first to be approved by King's estate, meaning it will have access to all of the civil rights leader's intellectual property.
Obviously this is going to be one heck of an Oscar-baited biopic, and Spielberg will have to find just the right person to play MLK. In the past he's been portrayed by actors including James Earl Jones, Paul Winfield, LeVar Burton, Robert Guillaume, Courtney B. Vance, Jeffrey Wright, MLK's son Dexter King and even Jaleel White (aka "Urkel"). But Academy Awards aside, this is a film that should be made and should be great, because even though we celebrate his birthday every January, there's still likely a lot of young people in America who don't know just how important of a man MLK was (and still is) and it's worth informing them.
Is Spielberg, who gave us Amistad and The Color of Purple, the right man to bring us this ambitious biopic? I think so, especially partnered with Madison Jones, who has executive produced MLK specials for CNN and TBS. And definitely relative, he and de Passe also co-produced President Obama's Inaugural Ball. For more info on the news, head over to Variety. And to watch his unforgettable "I Have a Dream" speech, head over to YouTube.