Chris Rock Steps Into Director’s Chair For Martin Luther King Jr. Biopic
Chris Rock has been tapped to direct a Universal-backed biopic on the late civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr.
Final negotiations are underway on the film based on Jonathan Eig’s biography, “King: A Life.” Rock will direct and produce the feature film alongside the executive producer, Steven Spielberg, via The Hollywood Reporter.
Eig’s biography was released in May and went on to earn a National Book Award nomination for its deep dive into unearthed information the FBI had on King. The book’s publisher, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux describe it as an “intimate portrayal of King as a courageous but emotionally troubled individual who demanded peaceful protest while grappling with his frailties and a government that hunted him.”
Rock’s return to directing comes 10 years since his last director gig on his 2014 film “Top Five.” He also directed his 2003 film “Head of State” and 2007’s “I Think I Love My Wife.” All more on the comedic side, Rock will have a chance to show off his directing prowess in the King biopic.
But many are already expressing their skepticism on Rock being tapped to direct a film about such a notable historic figure. There was more criticism than praise when Discussing Film shared the announcement on Thursday, October 5.
A Martin Luther King Jr biopic is in the works with Chris Rock set to direct.
(Source: Deadline) pic.twitter.com/LbHVz7in1F
— DiscussingFilm (@DiscussingFilm) October 5, 2023
“Lord, MLK gonna be a Civil Rights Comedian smh 🤦🏾♂️,” one user wrote.
“A comedian directing a biopic of a serious figure dealing with serious issues,” added someone else. “Chris Rock is funny, and I like his work, but this is a mockery.”
Rock is set to return to the screen as part of George C. Wolfe’s civil rights biopic “Rustin.” In March, he made headlines with his explosive Netflix comedy special “Selective Outrage” where he unleashed his comedic rage on Will and Jada Pinkett Smith while breaking his year-long silence on the infamous Oscars slap of 2022.