Chris Rock to direct Martin Luther King Jr. biopic

Written by on October 6, 2023

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Chris Rock is getting into the director’s chair for a brand new project.

The comic-actor-“Saturday Night Live” alum is reportedly in “final talks” to direct a “definitive” biopic on the life of late civil rights great Martin Luther King, Jr.

Comic-actor Chris Rock reportedly is in “final talks” to direct a “definitive” biopic on the life of Martin Luther King Jr. Above, Rock performs in 2018 during the Movement Voter Project comedy benefit at The Bell House in Brooklyn. (Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

According to Deadline, Universal Pictures has optioned the rights to “King: A Life,”  Jonathan Eig’s National Book Award-nominated bestseller on King, the Atlanta civil rights activist legend. Described as the icon’s “definitive biography,” the May 2023 book included “newly declassified FBI information” while weaving in King’s work in demanding peaceful protests in the South, the intricacies of his personal life and how the federal government treated him on every step of his journey.

Industry titan Steven Spielberg is set to executive produce the pending project from Universal Pictures. In addition to directing, Rock is also in final talks to produce it.

Interestingly, Rock appears in the upcoming Netflix biopic “Rustin,” which centers on Bayard Rustin, another civil rights icon and the brains behind the 1963 March on Washington. Rock plays NAACP leader Roy Wilkins in the drama, who “reluctantly embraced Rustin’s efforts and made the march possible.”

‘Rustin’ biopic starring Colman Domingo drops first look images

Set for release on Netflix globally on Nov. 17, “Rustin” is also getting a limited release in select movie theaters on Friday, Nov. 3.

In March, the multi-talented funnyman presented his second live Netflix stand-up special, “Chris Rock: Selective Outrage,” which was his first time addressing the controversial slap incident at the 2022 Oscars.

Should Rock join the “King” project, it would not be his first time in the director’s position. The Emmy- and Grammy Award-winner directed 2003’s “Head of State” and 2014’s “Top Five,” films he also wrote and starred in. The former, which co-starred the late Bernie Mac as his brother, Rock also produced.

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