MLK Biopic Back On, Racially Charged Arguments to Follow?

MLK Biopic Back On, Racially Charged Arguments to Follow?

The director of “United 93” and two “Bourne” movies is back behind a planned biopic of slain civil rights legend Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Memphis,” which retells the final days of King’s remarkable life, has been in the planning stages for some time. Director Paul Greengrass was originally attached to the project, and now reports he’s back on board.

Now, I hear that steps are underway to make Memphis Greengrass’ next directorial outing. I’ve heard that Veritas is in talks to finance with Wild Bunch. You might recall the picture was shelved after Universal Pictures dropped out, and Greengrass and producer Scott Rudin shelved it because it became too difficult to set up new financing and shoot the film so that it could be released during the MLK weekend holiday. Greengrass and Rudin moved on to make Captain Phillips, the Sony drama about the Somali pirate heist that stars Tom Hanks as Captain Richard Phillips.

There still may be friction along the way. Just consider the comments attached to the article noting Greengrass’ skin color (he is white). The director’s track record is darn near impeccable (his “Green Zone” is a rare, albeit major, misstep). So there’s no questions Greengrass has the talent to bring the story to life. That won’t stop some voices from sharing their concern about the project without seeing a single frame of the dailies. To put it bluntly, race is a delicate subject in Hollywood given the lack of minority power brokers in the business. 

DreamWorks also has a King biopic in the pipeline, which could complicate matters further.