Kario Salem wrote the script and the King family is expected to support the long-gestating project
Jamie Foxx is in talks to play Martin Luther King Jr. in a biopic that Oliver Stone is in negotiations to direct for DreamWorks and Warner Bros., three individuals familiar with the long-gestating project have told TheWrap.
Oscar winners Foxx and Stone previously worked together on 1999’s football drama “Any Given Sunday,” which helped put Foxx on the map as a major movie star.
Warner Bros. had no comment.
Steven Spielberg will produce for DreamWorks along with Suzanne de Passe, Madison Jones and Sam Nappi, while several members of the King family are expected to serve as executive producers on the project.
Kario Salem wrote the script, while Ronald Harwood penned an earlier draft.
DreamWorks acquired the rights to King’s story in 2009 along with the rights to his “I Have a Dream” speech. In April 2011, the company decided to team up with Warner Bros., which had been developing its own MLK movie with Salem, who spent three years doing research and interviews to inform his screenplay.
The race to get a MLK movie off the ground has become something of a spectator sport in Hollywood. What distinguishes the DreamWorks/WB project is that it boasts the support of the King family, unlike a competing film titled “Memphis” that Paul Greengrass has spent years developing with producer Scott Rudin. The King family refused to cooperate with that project given its warts-and-all depiction of the civil rights leader.
Meanwhile, Lee Daniels spent years trying to bring “Selma” to the big screen, though that project will now be directed by Ava DuVernay (“Middle of Nowhere”) and star David Oyelowo (“The Butler”) as King.
Stone has long been drawn to politically-themed biopics, having directed “JFK,” “Nixon” and “W.” He most recently directed “Savages” and just signed on to produce a biopic of Algerian leader Emir Abd el-Kader.
Foxx recently starred in Quentin Taratino’s “Django Unchained” and Roland Emmerich’s “White House Down.” He’s currently filming Sony’s “Annie” reboot and will soon be seen as the villainous Electro in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.”
CAA represents Stone and Foxx, who is also repped by Rick Yorn of Montone/Yorn.