A couple of days ago Screen Rant reported on the rights being acquired to make a biopic about the life of the late Martin Luther King Jr. It is set to be produced by Steven Spielberg, Suzanne de Passe and Madison Jones, and is said to be, “a dream project,” for them. But it never seems to go smoothly with these sorts of things – as it turns out, there is some legal bickering going on between the three children of King which was only furthered by the acquiring of the rights to make the biopic about their father.
It appears that Dexter King was the one who negotiated the deal with Dreamworks, but did not think to include his brother Martin Luther King III or sister Bernice King. They apparently only heard about the deal in an e-mail from Dexter shortly before it was closed between him and the studio. In an interview, Bernice said she is pursuing options to fight it. She said:
We are taking action. We cannot reveal what it is at this time… Dexter King has entered into an agreement without approval of his shareholders… It’s about Dexter King and the empire he is trying to build with Madison Jones.”
Dexter King is the chief executive of the King estate and a long-time friend of former Motown Records executive, Madison Jones. This is probably a major factor in him going ahead with the deal so easily, considering he has a friendship with one of the three producers. Dexter, King III and Bernice have been fighting over the rights to the estates for months now, and it seems that this deal has just made the family squabbling worse.
So what does this mean for the actual King biopic itself? Well, according to a spokesperson for Dreamworks, they, “…remain committed to pursuing a film chronicling Martin Luther King’s life provided that there is unity in the family so we can make a film about unity in our nation. We believe this is what Dr. King would have wanted.”
It sounds like the family of King are fighting over rights to various different things that their father wrote and said (speeches and such), when there’s really no need for it. I really don’t know why the wouldn’t want a properly done, theatrically-released movie about their father. Their fighting is only going to delay or, even worse, stop it it altogether.
Don’t they want their father’s legacy honored and seen by as many people as possible? Even with the tons of documentaries out there about him, let’s face it, they aren’t going to reach a huge audience. A major theatrical movie however, will definitely get a lot more people to see who their father was and the impact he had on society.
I really hope they can work it out so that this film can get made at some point. It would be a shame if it fell through because of some legal troubles…
What do you think of the movie-related dispute between the children of Martin Luther King Jr.?
Sources: THR and AccessAtlanta