Chris Rock to Direct Martin Luther King Biopic for Universal

Steven Spielberg will serve as executive producer on the film

Chris Rock
Chris Rock (Getty Images)

Comedian and actor Chris Rock is in final talks to direct and produce a biopic on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., with Steven Spielberg serving as an executive producer through his production company Amblin Partners.

The project will be an adaptation of “King: A Life,” a critically acclaimed biography of the civil rights leader written by Jonathan Eig and published earlier this year. The book draws from recently released documents related to King. These range from personal letters to White House telephone transcripts and FBI documents related to director J. Edgar Hoover’s hostile and racist surveillance of King.

It was not immediately clear whether Rock will also star in the film. He has played the lead in the three features he’s previously directed, as well as writing them.

The last feature Rock directed was 2014’s “Top Five.” Before that, he directed 2007’s “I Think I Love My Wife” and 2003’s “Head of State.” His credits also include directing both his own comedy specials and Amy Schumer’s 2015 “Amy Schumer: Live at the Apollo.”

Universal’s Senior Vice President of Production Development Ryan Jones will oversee the project on behalf of the studio. Kristie Macosko Krieger will produce the film for Amblin.

The book option was brokered by Lucy Stille at Lucy Stille Literary on behalf of the David Black Agency. Rock is repped by CAA, Untitled Entertainment, Yorn, Levine, Barnes, Krintzman, Rubenstein, Kohner, Endlich & Gellman and Vision PR.


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