Chris Rock to Direct ‘Definitive’ Martin Luther King Jr. Biopic

chris rock

Chris Rock has reportedly entered final negotiations to direct and produce a Martin Luther King Jr. biopic for Universal. Steven Spielberg will executive produce the movie.

According to IndieWire, the upcoming film is based on the biography King: A Life by Jonathan Eig, a book The New York Times calls the “definitive” biography of Martin Luther King Jr. and the most comprehensive look at his life in many years. IndieWire reports, “The book utilizes new FBI information from previously untapped primary sources and hundreds of interviews. Eig presents King Jr. as courageous but emotionally troubled, someone who demanded peaceful protest but also grappled with his own frailties.”

This Is Not Chris Rock's First Time in a Director's Chair

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Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Chris Rock became a household name after starring on Saturday Night Live from 1990 to 1993. During his SNL stint, he appeared in movies such as New Jack City, Boomerang, and CB4, the latter of which he also wrote and produced. Rock directed Head of State, I Think I Love My Wife, and Top Five (pictured), in which he also starred. His recent stand-up special Selective Outrage was Netflix's first live-streamed event.

IndieWire reports, “Eig is the author of six books, including The Birth of The Pill, Ali: A Life, and Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig, all of which have been optioned and are in active development for either film and TV. Eig also served as a consulting producer for the PBS series Muhammad Ali, directed by Ken Burns. Eig is the winner of a PEN Literary Award and National Book Award nominee.”

Eig wrote a book about Muhammad Ali, whom Will Smith played in 2001's Ali. In a six-degrees-of-separation kind of coincidence, Smith attacked Rock at the 2022 Academy Awards for joking about Jada Pinkett Smith's hair.

In Rock's Netflix special Selective Outrage, he addresses the Slap Heard Around the World. “I know you can’t tell on the screen, but Will Smith is significantly bigger than me,” said Rock. “Will Smith does movies with his shirt off. You never seen me do a movie with my shirt off. If I’m in a movie getting open-heart surgery, I got on a sweater.” Rock's theory is that he took it to the face on live TV because of Smith's misdirected anger. “Will Smith practices selective outrage,” Rock said. “Everyone that really knows knows I didn’t have anything to do with that s–t. I didn’t have any ‘entanglements.’”

Author: Robert DeSalvo

Title: Entertainment News Writer


Robert DeSalvo is a professional writer and editor with over 25 years of experience at print and online publications such as Movieline, Playboy, PCH, Fandango, and The A.V. Club. He currently lives in Los Angeles, the setting of his favorite movie, Blade Runner. Robert has interviewed dozens of actors, directors, authors, musicians, and other celebrities during his journalism career, including Brian De Palma, Nicolas Cage, Dustin Hoffman, John Waters, Sigourney Weaver, Julianne Moore, Bryan Cranston, Anne Rice, and many more. Horror movies, sci-fi, cult films as well as gothic, postpunk, and synthwave music are what Robert geeks over.