Chris Rock is gearing up to examine the life of Martin Luther King Jr. The actor and comedian is in final negotiations to direct and produce a biopic of the late civil rights icon, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
Universal is behind the project and has optioned the rights to Jonathan Eig’s biography, King: A Life, which debuted to acclaim in May and earned a National Book Award nomination. The book, which drew upon newly unearthed FBI information on King, is described by its publisher, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, as an “intimate portrayal of King as a courageous but emotionally troubled individual who demanded peaceful protest while grappling with his own frailties and a government that hunted him.”
Steven Spielberg will executive produce the project via his Amblin Partners, with Kristie Macosko Krieger producing.
Rock previously directed and starred in the TIFF favorite Top Five (2014). He also directed Head of State (2003) and I Think I Love My Wife (2007). He is onscreen this year in George C. Wolfe’s civil rights biopic Rustin, starring Colman Domingo. In March, he launched the Netflix live stand-up special Chris Rock: Selective Outrage, while last year, he appeared in the ensemble cast of David O. Russell’s Amsterdam. He has his animated comedy Everybody Still Hates Chris in the works for Paramount+ and Comedy Central.