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Thread: Martin Luther King Jr.'s children squabbling over planned biographical movie

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    Elite Member Moongirl's Avatar
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    Default Martin Luther King Jr.'s children squabbling over planned biographical movie

    MSNBC.com

    King siblings squabbling over film project
    Son and daughter of civil rights leader irked that brother brokered deal
    The Associated Press
    updated 4:12 p.m. PT, Tues., May 19, 2009

    ATLANTA - DreamWorks Studios plans to tell the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s story on the big screen in a film to be co-produced by Steven Spielberg, the studio announced Tuesday.

    The studio describes it as a monumental project but two of King's children threatened legal action over the film deal because it was brokered without their blessing.

    Dreamworks touted the project in a news release as the first theatrical motion picture authorized by the estate using King's intellectual property, including copyrighted speeches and other works, as the basis for the film.

    Dexter King, one of the late civil rights leader's sons, said in a news release that he hoped the movie would "be the definitive film" on his father's legacy. Two other King siblings Bernice King and Martin Luther King III said they oppose the deal, which they say was brokered by Dexter without their input.

    Dexter is the chairman and chief executive officer of King, Inc.

    "This is a deal that Mr. Spielberg and his people ... have entered into believing that they have the blessing of The King Estate. They don't have the blessings of Bernice and Martin King," Bernice King told The Associated Press in a telephone interview on Tuesday after finding out about the deal in an e-mail from Dexter King.

    A spokesman for Dexter King did not immediately return a phone call Tuesday afternoon.

    The three siblings have been involved in several legal disputes regarding their parents' intellectual property in the past year. Bernice King and Martin Luther King III have accused their brother of tarnishing their parents' legacy with his business decisions, and say he has been operating The King Estate for years without their input.

    Martin Luther King III said the matter was typical of an ongoing pattern of exclusion.

    "It's not that we are against a film," he said. "It's very interesting to me that a company would engage in a business arrangement knowing that there's severe controversy around many issues pertaining to the estate of Martin Luther King Jr."

    Three other lawsuits still in works
    DreamWorks spokeswoman Kristin Stark declined to say how much the deal is worth. It is not clear when the movie might be made. Stark said she did not believe the siblings' legal differences would affect the project.

    Although several movies about King's life have been televised, the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize winner has only been on the silver screen once. The documentary, "King: A Filmed Record ... Montgomery to Memphis," was shown once in theaters on March 24, 1970, and featured commentary from Harry Belafonte, Sidney Poitier, Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward and Ruby Dee, among others.

    Film and television producer Suzanne de Passe and Madison Jones, a longtime friend of Dexter King who has handled intellectual property issues for the estate for several years, are also listed as producers on the project.

    Bernice King said Jones also does not represent her and Martin.

    "He has always represented Dexter," she said. "This is about Dexter and Phil and their empire."


    In March, Dexter King brokered an intellectual property deal with EMI Music Publishing for his father's words and image. Last month, Bernice King and Martin Luther King III took issue with an $800,000 licensing deal their brother struck with the foundation tasked with building a memorial to their father on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

    The siblings are still struggling to settle three lawsuits involving their parents' estates, including one attempting to force Dexter King to open the books of their father's estate. Another would determine who should control Coretta Scott King's personal items some of which were at the center of a $1.4 million book deal about their mother's life that fell apart last year amid the legal wrangling.

    Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
    URL: King siblings squabbling over film project - Movies- msnbc.com



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    Last edited by Moongirl; May 19th, 2009 at 08:19 PM.

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    Elite Member suede's Avatar
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    All I hear is MEMMEMEMEME and MY $$$$$$$$
    He who knows does not speak.
    He who speaks does not know.
    Lao-tzu

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    Elite Member BITTER's Avatar
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    With Coretta and Yolanda gone, the kids have lost their center....

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    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by suede View Post
    All I hear is MEMMEMEMEME and MY $$$$$$$$
    Indeed, just the latest example of their greed. Unbelievably sickening to see how it all ended up. Not too long ago it was revealed how much they got for the statue of MLK jr.

    Sad beyond words.

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    Elite Member Sweetie's Avatar
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    I guess his dream doesn't live on through his children.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sweetie View Post
    I guess his dream doesn't live on through his children.
    Nope. And this isn't the first time I've heard negative things said about the MLK offspring. There is a sense of entitlement with them.

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    "I had a dream that one day my lazy kids would get off their asses and make something of themselves, and live their lives by the true content of their character and not the color of the money my name can bring."

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