ENTERTAINMENT
05/31/2013 08:32 am ET

Forest Whitaker As Martin Luther King? Oscar Winner In Talks For Paul Greengrass' 'Memphis'

AP

Paul Greengrass' long gestating Martin Luther King film "Memphis" may have found its Martin Luther King. According to TheWrap, Oscar winner Forest Whitaker is in talks to play King in the new film, which focuses on the last days of the civil rights leader's life.

If the title "Memphis" sounds familiar, it's not because of the Tony Award-winning musical. Greengrass has been trying to make his "Memphis" for quite some time. Vulture first reported on the project back in January of 2011, noting that Greengrass based the film's script on his own original research. By February of that year, Universal had signed on to release "Memphis," but that union didn't last long. Deadline.com reported in April of 2011 that the studio had decided to pass on "Memphis," perhaps owing to pressure from the King estate. As Vulture noted, Greengrass' film focuses on King in the spring of 1968, just before his murder, when he was "chain-smoking, boozing, and packing on the pounds." His marriage was also going through a rough period.

Should Whitaker sign on, it would be another high-profile historical figure on his resume. He won an Oscar for playing Idi Amin in "The Last King of Scotland" and next stars as Eugene Allen, a service worker who held a job in the White House for 34 years, in "The Butler." That film is directed by Lee Daniels, who has tried to mount his own Martin Luther King film. Daniels wanted to make "Selma," with David Oyelowo as King and Hugh Jackman in a supporting role, but the project never got off the ground. Daniels then announced that he would make another King project with Jackman, titled "Orders to Kill," last summer. As yet, that film has not materialized.

For more, hit TheWrap.

[via TheWrap]

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