Oliver Stone Out Of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Biopic Due To Controversial Script
Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, everyone! It is on this day we remember a civil rights leader who wasn’t afraid to be outspoken about his dreams for equality in this great nation. And no one knows visions of equality better than director Oliver Stone, as his film JFK certainly attested. (Sarcasm, folks!) Those who were hoping for Stone’s take on King’s life, with Jamie Foxx potentially starring, will be disappointed to know that the project is now dead in the water, as the film’s producers have turned down his script rewrite.
Announced by Stone himself via his Twitter page, the news is far from surprising, though one has to wonder if it was DreamWorks or Warner Bros. that passed on the project, or if everyone involved wanted to back off. Stone’s brand of storytelling, which has given audiences versions of Jim Morrison and Alexander the Great, often polarizes crowds and I never really thought his MLK film would ever see the light of day. But it is quite interesting that the plain Jane reason was Stone’s script being rejected for its subject matter. Did they really think Stone was going to pump out a story that glorified the man without also delving into the uglier details of his personal life? Here are a few more tweets he sent out further detailing things.
I remember thinking that Stone’s take on 9/11 with World Trade Center would create all kinds of controversy, but it ended up just being a boring movie. I guess he wasn’t taking that route with this script, though. The original script was written by Kario Salem (Chasing Mavericks), who almost certainly had a more generic take on things.
Warner and DreamWorks have had the rights to King’s life story and the "I Have a Dream" speech since 2009, so they’ll definitely be filling Stone’s shoes before too long, hopefully by someone who knows how to pepper controversy into the drama instead of peppering drama into a controversy. Stone made no mention of Foxx’s involvement in the project, so Warner and DreamWorks may very well keep the Oscar-winning actor involved while they search for another filmmaker.
Of course, we may first get to experience another take on King’s life with the project Memphis from Captain Phillips director Paul Greengrass, with Forrest Whitaker attached in the lead role. Greengrass is a filmmaker who often delivers tension without ostracizing anyone.
How do you guys feel about this? Would Stone have delivered the definitive MLK biopic or just another controversy?
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