Lee Daniels has a knack for controversy, and in an upcoming film about the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. he will certainly have people talking.
Lee Daniels and Hugh Jackman failed to get a civil rights picture off the ground when their passion project “Selma” fell apart two years ago. But the pair are taking another crack at that subject, exploring the Martin Luther King Jr. assassination with a new film that takes an unconventional view of King’s murder.
Daniels will direct and Jackman will star in “Orders to Kill,” a story that aims to tell an alternative version of the King shooting, according to a person familiar with the project who was not authorized to talk about it publicly. Millennium Films will produce and finance the film, which is currently being shopped around to distributors in Hollywood. A Millennium spokeswoman did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
The film will tell the story of William Pepper (Jackman), a controversial attorney and activist who for decades has argued that convicted killer James Earl Ray, who recanted his confession and died arguing his innocence, didn’t shoot MLK.
And don’t expect objections from the King family – well not Dexter King anyway:
Ray has long been viewed as the killer by authorities and much of the public, though Pepper has the support of Martin Luther King Jr.’s son Dexter King, who came to believe the bullet was fired by a Memphis police officer. A 1999 wrongful-death lawsuit against a man and unknown co-conspirators filed by the Kings and argued by Pepper found in favor of the plaintiff. The trial will be the climactic section of the film, according to the person familiar with the project.
— Michael Arceneaux
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