According to Variety, Rock is in final negotiations to direct and produce an adaptation of author Jonathan Eig’s biography King: A Life, while Spielberg will executive produce the project. Universal Pictures are thought to be on board for the film.
King became a leading voice of the civil rights movement in the ’60s before his assassination in 1968. Actors who have recently played King on sreen include David Oyelowo in the 2014 Oscar-nominated historical drama Selma and Anthony Mackie in 2016’s All the Way.
An official synopsis of the book from Macmillan reads: “Vividly written and exhaustively researched, Jonathan Eig’s King: A Life is the first major biography in decades of the civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr.—and the first to include recently declassified FBI files.
“In this revelatory new portrait of the preacher and activist who shook the world, the bestselling biographer gives us an intimate view of the courageous and often emotionally troubled human being who demanded peaceful protest for his movement but was rarely at peace with himself. He casts fresh light on the King family’s origins as well as MLK’s complex relationships with his wife, father, and fellow activists.
“…In this landmark biography, Eig gives us an MLK for our times: a deep thinker, a brilliant strategist, and a committed radical who led one of history’s greatest movements, and whose demands for racial and economic justice remain as urgent today as they were in his lifetime.
Rock has previously directed 2014’s Top Five, 2007’s I Think I Love My Wife and 2003’s Head of State. Later this year, he’ll be seen in George C. Wolfe’s Rustin on Netflix, which also features a portrayal of Martin Luther King Jr.
The film is about the Bayard Rustin, the architect of 1963’s momentous March on Washington.
A synopsis of that says “Rustin shines a long overdue spotlight on the extraordinary man who, alongside giants like the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., Adam Clayton Powell Jr., and Ella Baker, dared to imagine a different world, and inspired a movement in a march toward freedom.”