After Precious became a hit, director Lee Daniels ended up looking into dual true-story films with civil rights interests. The first, Selma, lined up an impressive cast (Hugh Jackman, Liam Neeson, David Oyelowo, Robert De Niro, Cedric the Entertainer) for a tale about the relationship between Martin Luther King, Jr. and President Lyndon Johnson, and the desegregation campaigns and civil rights marches that centered in Selma, Alabama in the mid-’60s. The other was The Butler, about a man who worked in the White House under several generations of US Presidents.

Neither film ended up being Daniels’ Precious follow-up — that was The Paperboy, which was savaged at Cannes, but also became a tabloid object thanks to the scene in which Nicole Kidman urinates on Zac Efron. But Daniels is getting The Butler ready to go now, and he’s about to corral former Selma collaborator Hugh Jackman for a new MLK story. This one, Orders to Kill, will have a more confrontational story, as it follows an attorney who insists that King assassin James Earl Ray was not really responsible for the activist’s death.

The LA Times says that Orders to Kill will follow “William Pepper (Jackman), a controversial attorney and activist who for decades has argued that convicted killer James Earl Ray, who recanted his confession and died arguing his innocence, didn’t shoot MLK.” Millennium Films is producing and financing, but a distributor isn’t lined up yet.

The LAT further explains that this movie will span years as it follows Pepper’s “one-man campaign” to explain that the United States government was really behind MLK’s assassination. Hanna Weg wrote the script, based on Pepper’s book Orders to Kill: The Truth Behind the Murder of Martin Luther King, Jr. (In other words, this could be in the vein of Oliver Stone’s JFK.)

 

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