Universal announces Martin Luther King Jr. film with Chris Rock directing, Steven Spielberg to executive produce

Universal announces Martin Luther King Jr. film with Chris Rock directing, Steven Spielberg to executive produce

Universal Pictures is in final talks with Chris Rock to direct King: A Life, a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr biopic.

Universal Pictures and Chris Rock are teaming up for King: A Life, a cinematic biopic centering on the life and times of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Universal optioned the rights to adapt Jonathan Eig’s page-turning biography King: A Life. Rock is in final talks to direct, with Steven Spielberg executive producing.

Here is a synopsis for Eig’s novel via Amazon:

Vividly written and exhaustively researched, Jonathan Eig’s King: A Life is the first major biography in decades of the civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr.―and the first to include recently declassified FBI files. In this revelatory new portrait of the preacher and activist who shook the world, the bestselling biographer gives us an intimate view of the courageous and often emotionally troubled human being who demanded peaceful protest for his movement but was rarely at peace with himself. He casts fresh light on the King family’s origins as well as MLK’s complex relationships with his wife, father, and fellow activists. King reveals a minister wrestling with his own human frailties and dark moods, a citizen hunted by his own government, and a man determined to fight for justice even if it proved to be a fight to the death. 

As he follows MLK from the classroom to the pulpit to the streets of Birmingham, Selma, and Memphis, Eig dramatically re-creates the journey of a man who recast American race relations and became our only modern-day founding father―as well as the nation’s most mourned martyr.

In this landmark biography, Eig gives us an MLK for our times: a deep thinker, a brilliant strategist, and a committed radical who led one of history’s greatest movements, and whose demands for racial and economic justice remain as urgent today as they were in his lifetime.

Amblin Partners produces with Kristie Macosko Krieger and Rock. King: A Life provides Rock a fantastic opportunity to share more of his directing chops with the world and emerge from the shadow of the infamous “Oscar slap” incident with Will Smith.

Eig’s novel is considered by many to be an essential representation of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s many achievements and strength of spirit and perseverance. With such robust source material to pull from, Rock’s biopic could be one of the most powerful representations of the King’s lasting contributions to world history.