The decision by Universal to scrap Paul Greengrass’ Martin Luther King Jr biopic, Memphis, had everyone assuming it was purely a scheduling decision. Either that on Paul went off and did something crazy. Turns out…
It was pressure from King’s estate that may have contributed to Universal’s exeunt. They didn’t take issue with Greengrass shaking a camera at the memory of MLK Jr., but they did take issue with him making up facts about his life. Namely the extra-marital affairs that appeared in the script but not in reality.
Andrew Young, a close friend to King, told Deadline that he reached out to Universal and had this to say about the script:
“I thought it was fiction.” As for the depiction of infidelity, Young said: “There is testimony in congressional hearings that a lot of that information was manufactured by the FBI and wasn’t true. The FBI testified to that. I was saying simply, why make up a story when the true story is so great? My only concern here is honoring the message of Martin Luther King’s life, and how you can change the world without killing anybody.”
“But we had the most powerful and understanding wives in history, Coretta, my wife Jean, and Ralph Abernathy’s wife Juanita. These women were more dedicated and enthusiastic in pushing us into these struggles than anybody, and the inference Coretta might have been upset about Martin being gone so much or them having marital troubles, it’s just not true.”
Why did they stop with one extra-marital affair? You need to go completely outlandish nowadays if you want your biopic to be a hit. I mean, look at the renaissance that Abraham Lincoln is enjoying. Maybe if you called this bitch MLK Jr: Secret Werewolf, you’d have yourself a go picture, Greengrass.