Days before Martin Luther King Jr. Day, director Oliver Stone announced that he would no longer be helming a biopic on the slain Civil Rights leader because producers would not approve his script that showed King’s flaws.
“Sad news. My MLK project involvement has ended. I did an extensive rewrite of the script, but the producers won’t go with it,” the Oscar-winning director of “JFK” and “Platoon,” tweeted Friday.
“The script dealt w/ issues of adultery, conflicts within the movement, and King’s spiritual transformation into a higher, more radical being,” he continued. “I’m told the estate & the ‘respectable’ black community that guard King’s reputation won’t approve it. They suffocate the man & the truth.”
He then added, “I wish you could see the film I would’ve made. I fear if ‘they’ ever make it, it’ll be just another commemoration of the March on Washington.”
He concluded with, “Martin, I grieve for you. You are still a great inspiration for your fellow Americans—but, thank God, not a saint.”
Stone had been tapped for the DreamWorks and Warner Bros production, which Steven Spielberg had been set to produce. Jamie Foxx signed on to play King. It’s uncertain how Stone’s departure will affect Foxx.
Despite the magnitude of King’s life — or perhaps because of it — Hollywood has yet to bring the story of the slain civil rights leader to the big screen, although there have been numerous portrayals on television since his 1968 assassination.
DreamWorks acquired the rights to King’s life from his estate in 2009. The project, which revolves around the civil rights leader’s admiration for Mahatma Gandhi, has already gone through a few incarnations.
There are two other films about King’s life, “Selma” and “Memphis,” also in the works.