While Paul Greengrass’ Memphis continues to languish—stalled by objections from Martin Luther King Jr.’s family, who worry it could tarnish whatever small corner they’ve yet to already ruin of his reputation—another MLK biopic is moving forward at DreamWorks, with a man whose name is synonymous with reverential treatment of history: Oliver Stone. Of course, though we may implicitly scoff at the idea of the man who made JFK, Nixon, The Doors, and Alexander getting the authorization of the King family (with all the copyrighted speeches that it comes with) to tell the civil rights leader’s story faithfully, Stone has increasingly moved toward safe, sympathetic stories like World Trade Center and W. that suggest he’s no longer particularly interested in controversy—and certainly, casting his Any Given Sunday star Jamie Foxx as King undoubtedly helped get the family’s approval.
In fact, add in Steven Spielberg as an executive producer, and it seems increasingly unlikely that Oliver Stone’s King biopic would be anything but reverential—or focus too deeply on King’s infidelity, which remains a sticking point on Memphis. Plus, given what we know about Oliver Stone’s aversion to violence these days, maybe his King biopic ends with James Earl Ray going to balcony of the Lorraine Motel that fateful April morning, then angrily shaking his fist in King’s direction. Everyone can get behind that.
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