The Pianist screenwriter Ronald Harwood to pen Spielberg's MARTIN LUTHER KING jr. Biopic

Oscar-winning writer Ronald Harwood (The Pianist, Love In The Time of Cholera) has been brought on by DreamWorks to pen its Martin Luther King Jr. biopic.

Steven Spielberg will produce the biopic with Suzanne de Passe and Madison Jones.

DreamWorks' acquisition of the life rights of the slain civil rights leader last May, marks the first big-screen film to be authorized by King's estate and gives the studio access to King's intellectual property -- including King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech.

Harwood, a South African native, has written extensively about apartheid, including the film Mandela, and is known for a careerlong fascination with themes surrounding race, conscience and moral choices as well as history.

Harwood was vague about how he intends to approach the project:

I will not say anything about my approach to this screenplay except to say what I always say: 'I will do my utmost to be true to truth.'?

Spielberg was more open about his intentions, saying in May:

We are all honored that the King Estate is giving us the opportunity to tell the story of these defining, historic events. It is our hope that the creative power of film and the impact of Dr. King's life can combine to present a story of undeniable power that we can all be proud of.

Harwood's most recent work with the Baz Luhrmann-directed Australia did little to wow audiences, but Harwood looks to be the right guy for the job.

Dreamworks is also developing a George Gershwin biopic, from Doug Wright's (Memoirs of a Geisha) screenplay about the famous composer. 

What do you think of Ronald Harwood penning the Martin Luther King Jr. Biopic?


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