Forest Whitaker in Talks to Star as Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis

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Paul Greengrass’ Memphis may have just landed an actor for its star role.

According to TheWrap, Oscar-winner Forest Whitaker might tackle the lead in Greengrass’ film that’s been long in the works. Originally signed to Universal, the studio dropped Memphis, halting its progress. Now with financial backing from Abu Dhabi-based Veritas Films and French financier Wild Bunch, it looks like the project is back on track.

The movie, which will be filmed “docu-style,” similar to how the filmmaker shot United 93, follows the final days leading up to Dr. King’s assassination in Memphis, Tenn.

Vulture noted that the film could offer a more “human portrayal” than expected, showing the activist at a time when “his marriage was faltering” and “he was chain-smoking, boozing, and packing on the pounds.” King’s family is working on their own project at DreamWorks and have objected to Greengrass’ gritty portrayal of King.

Forest Whitaker  won an Oscar for another high-profile figure, Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland, and will next star in Lee Daniels’ The Butler alongside Oprah Winfrey, John Cusack and Robin Williams (Aug. 16). Watch the trailer below.

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