If you can’t beat ‘em outright, join forces. That’s the old adage in play here as two competing Martin Luther King Jr. biopics have decided to partner rather than go it alone. The Dreamworks half of the mash-up had been widely considered to be the more likely to eventually hit the screens because of its close involvement with the Martin Luther King Jr estate, but despite having the official rights to all the preacher’s intellectual property, the studio never could find a script they were completely happy with. On the other hand, Warner Brothers had a version they were pleased with all along. Penned by screenwriter Kario Salem, his take reportedly took three and a half years to complete and was bolstered by scores of research and numerous interviews, but it lacked access to the official “I Have A Dream” recording.
This new super project, co-financed by both Dreamworks and Warner Brothers, will likely see writer Kario Salem on board for scripting, but because of the studio swap, he’ll still need to sign a new deal and likely alter his original screenplay until it’s approved by the King family. That’s the downside of working so closely with an estate, but it’s typically a necessary evil when it comes to making biopics about beloved figures.
Without the approved script, the untitled biopic is likely still a ways away from going into production, but time is noticeably less important now that there’s one less competing project. Directors Paul Greengrass and Lee Daniels are both working on their own tellings of Dr. King’s story, with the former focusing on his troubles near the end of his life and the latter focusing on his marches in Selma, but in recent weeks, Universal has severed ties with Greengrass’ movie and Daniels has been unable to secure independent funding.
From a crowded field of four to one gigantic hybrid towering over two, a lot has changed on the MLK Jr front over the last few weeks, but ultimately, all the shuffling should produce one excellent movie.
Enthusiastic about Clue, case-of-the-week mysteries, the NBA and cookies at Disney World. Less enthusiastic about the pricing structure of cable, loud noises and Tuesdays.
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