The long overdue MLK biopic is finally going to see the light of day

As Colin Firth won Golden Globes for Best Actor playing a British king with a stutter, this King certainly never had trouble delivering a speech. His ‘I Have A Dream‘ speech delivered in Washington DC is surely one of the most memorable speech ever in the history of mankind.

Early last week I was planning on highlighting Martin Luther King Jr day with a clip from a movie about this great American hero. But it didn’t take long for me to realize that there hasn’t been a biopic of him, yet. Say what? He’s got a holiday named after him but not a single feature film has been made about him? I mean, this is a man whose legacy in the civil rights movement — even becoming the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize at age 35 — is worth commemorating year after year. I share the sentiment of this EW article headline: Martin Luther King Jr. movie: The latest from the What the Heck Took So Friggin’ Long department

I don’t really have a theory of why a movie on him hasn’t been made (apparently Steven Spielberg’s attempt to produce King Jr’s biopic a few years back has been stalled). Some say that now that we finally have a black president, maybe people are ready for this biopic. Whatever the cast may be, I’m glad they’re finally doing this. Better late than never I suppose.

English director Paul Greengrass (Bourne Supremacy & Ultimatum, Unite 93, Green Zone) reportedly is working on a MLK biopic titled Memphis, which will focus on the period of King’s life just prior to his murder on April 4th, 1968 in the titular Tennessee city (per Screenrant). More info from Vulture blog about the possible project:

Insiders tell us that Greengrass wrote the movie — titled simply Memphis — based on his own original research, and that it looks at King’s life while trying to organize the city’s sanitation workers in the spring of 1968, just before his murder on April 4 of that year. If so, that’d make for a much more human portrayal of King than some might expect. By the spring of 1968, King’s personal and professional lives were in disarray: His marriage was faltering; he was chain-smoking, boozing, and packing on the pounds. King’s outspokenness on the Vietnam War cost him his relationship with President Johnson, and his newfound interest in labor organization and the urban poor put him on the fringes of the rising Black Power movement.

Casting who would play the famous historical figure will probably surface in the coming weeks. But when I was doing the research for this post, my husband thought this guy from Sarah Connor Chronicles, Richard T. Jones. He’s probably much taller but his face certainly has an uncanny resemblance to MLK Jr., don’t you think? Of course they’re more likely going to go with someone more well-known in the film community though, probably Terrence Howard or Idris Elba??

Well, what do you think about this project, folks? Perhaps you have your own casting idea you’d like to share today?

18 thoughts on “The long overdue MLK biopic is finally going to see the light of day

  1. PrairieGirl

    I know there’s a TV biopic of MLK Jrs life, but never occurred to me that there wasn’t a feature film, it’s about time. LOVE Richard T. Jones. He was on a TV legal drama with Amy Brenneman from 1999-2005 (Judging Amy), and he really stood out in that show as the judges loyal court clerk. He would be great in King’s role.

    1. Yeah, it’s nuts isn’t it? I almost couldn’t believe that there’s a biopic on Malcolm X but not MLK. Oh glad you know who Richard is, I realize he does more TV work than movies but he’s a pretty good actor IMO.

  2. In all honesty, the casting should be a easy one. The role should go right to Anthony Mackie. He’s got all what it takes to pull out the performance of a life time. I know he has it within him.

  3. Courtney Vance, Blair Underwood, and Andre Braugher have my initial noms for the part. While I’m not too sure about their ability to carry this film on their own…there would have to be a great supporting cast, but I’d like to see them audition for the part. Underwood and Braugher especially have a way of being able to convey a great amount of emotion and passion!

    Undoubtedly Terrence Howard and Jamie Foxx will audition, but I hope they don’t get the part…along with Denzel. I’m a fan of all three, but I’d prefer to see someone else.

    I, for one, am glad to finally see a film begin to take form in honor of Dr. King. At last! It is, indeed, long overdue! Thanks for posting about it, Ruth!

    1. Hey thanks for your comment, T, I’ve been curious as to who you’d nominate for Dr. King. Of the 3, I haven’t heard of Courtney Vance, so I had to look him up. But wow, a Yale drama school grad, and he’s been in a few good ones. I think Underwood and Braugher would be awesome in the roles, both have the talent and screen gravitas to carry a film IMO. I’m with you about Howard, Foxx and Denzel, great actors in their own right, but not who I envision for this role.

      Well let’s hope whoever ends up doing the biopic they’d be respectful of the subject matter and be truthful to King’s belief and cause.

  4. Excited about this, gotta be Denzel surely? He’s already played Malcolm X, he is the obvious choice. Give him a role he can really sink his acting chops into!

  5. Ving King

    there’s one black male actor who has the chops, spirit, physicality and range that can pull this off successfully.
    VING RHAMES.
    if you want to see him with hair, just watch the movie DAVE with Kevin Kline.

  6. Pingback: Action/Comedy Weekend – The Living Daylights, The IT Crowd & Dredd – FlixChatter Film Blog

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