Martin Luther King Jr miniseries

David Simon, creator of The Wire, has found his next project: a Martin Luther King Jr miniseries. Simon is attached to an upcoming HBO miniseries based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning history books America: In The King Years, by Taylor Branch. Oprah Winfrey‘s Harpo Productions owns the rights and will produce.

Simon will reportedly write the first episode and oversee the six-hour long show with his Treme co-creator Eric Overmyer. The novels cover the bulk of the civil rights movement from 1954-1968. Read More »

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Aronofsky Portman Black Swan

We talk all the time here about new projects for our favorite directors, but today we’re going to talk about two films that have just been dropped by their respective helmers.

According to new reports, Darren Aronofsky has walked away from the thriller Red Sparrow, after circling the picture for months. Meanwhile, Oliver Stone is kicking off his MLK weekend by announcing that he is no longer making an MLK biopic. Hit the jump for updates on both projects.

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Oliver Stone is going back to his favorite subject matter: influential American personalities, particularly those of the past middle century. He’s already chronicled JFK and Nixon (and George W. Bush) and now Stone is in early talks to make a film about Martin Luther King, Jr.

This is one of a few different MLK films that have been in development recently, but the DreamWorks and Warner Bros. co-production have the all-important approval of the King family in addition to the influence of producer Steven Spielberg. The script is by  Kario Salem (Chasing Mavericks) who is reworking a draft by Ronald Harwood (The PianistAustralia).

If things work out, Stone will make the film, and he’ll have his Any Given Sunday actor Jamie Foxx in the starring role.

Update: This week, Stone confirmed that he and Foxx are moving forward with the MLK film. He told the Wall St. Journal “we’re looking for a way to relate to this extraordinary man.”

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You may recall that a couple of years back, Lee Daniels was debating between two civil-rights themed projects. He ultimately settled on the White House drama The Butler, which opens next month. But the other, Selma, hasn’t been forgotten entirely — it’s just in new hands now.

Ava DuVernay, the rising star behind last year’s Sundance drama Middle of Nowhere, has taken over the project. David Oyelowo remains attached to play MLK, as he has since 2010. Hit the jump for more details on the project.

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Forest Whitaker

Having won an Oscar for portraying one historical leader, Forest Whitaker is preparing to tackle another. Only while The Last King of Scotland‘s Idi Amin was a ruthless dictator, Memphis‘ Martin Luther King Jr. was, well, Martin Luther King Jr.

Paul Greengrass is directing the Scott Rudin-produced film, which is now going the indie route after being dropped by Universal a couple years back. Hit the jump to get the details.

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When Universal recently dropped Paul Greengrass’s Martin Luther King Jr. film Memphis due to a rumored lack of cooperation from King’s estate, it became obvious getting a film done about the civil rights leader was going to take a huge effort. Hopefully the combined resources of two studios might do the trick. The Hollywood Reporter is exclusively reporting that DreamWorks, which has the official life and intellectual property rights to King, as well as the cooperation of his family, is teaming up with Warner Bros., which has a well-researched script by Kario Salem (The Score, Mavericks), to make one mega film about the great civil rights leader. Read more after the break. Read More »

Last month Universal agreed to finance and distribute Memphis, a film about Martin Luther King with Paul Greengrass writing and directing and Scott Rudin producing. The film was ideally going to hit right in time for the MLK holiday in 2012.

Now Universal has dropped the project. What happened? Read More »

Paul Greengrass has finally made a decision as to what film he’s going to make next. The director of The Bourne Ultimatum and United 93 took some time off after last year’s Green Zone and had been considered to direct several projects including Fantastic Voyage, Cleopatra and Tales from the Gangster Side. Now it appears that earlier rumors were true and Greengrass will helm Memphis, from a script he wrote, which centers on the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Read what we know about this project and why it’s perfect for Greengrass after the jump. Read More »

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