Steven Spielberg, Suzanne de Passe and Madison Jones are set to produce a biopic on slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. for DreamWorks, which has acquired rights to his life story, reports Variety. The deal was made with King’s son, Dexter.
King, who was assassinated in 1968 in Memphis at the age of 39, copyrighted his speeches, books and famous works during his lifetime [click here to read].
The project marks the first film to be authorized by King’s estate and gives the producers the right to utilize King’s intellectual property — including his famous “I Have a Dream” speech delivered during the 1963 March on Washington — to create the definitive portrait of his life.
Dexter, who is chairman and CEO of King Inc, has been embroiled in a legal tussle with his siblings Bernice King and Martin Luther King III over who controls the personal papers of their late mother, Coretta Scott King, among other things.
And it looks like Dexter, and possibly Dreamworks, is going to be imbroiled in yet another legal tussle with Bernice and Martin, III because, according to the Associated Press, they’re not too thrilled with the agreement.
“This is a deal that Mr. Spielberg and his people … have entered into believing that they have the blessing of The King Estate. They don’t have the blessings of Bernice and Martin King,” Bernice King told The AP in a telephone interview on Tuesday after finding out about the arrangement in an e-mail from Dexter King.