There was a weird FBI thriller flick in the works, then an assassination project, but now we're finally going to get an authorized look into the life of Martin Luther King Jr. Variety reports that Steven Spielberg has nabbed the whole kit and King kaboodle. This new film will be the first project authorized by King's estate, and Spielberg will have access to the man's intellectual property -- which includes, of course, his uber epic speech, "I Have a Dream."

So, why now? Well, I'm sure it doesn't hurt that Lincoln has been struggling. If one biopic flails while trying to find cash, why not grab another passion project that would undoubtedly have an easier time getting funded? But there's also the timeliness factor. As DreamWorks co-chair Stacey Snider explains: "The answer lies in MLK's own words: 'All progress is precarious.' With every step forward, new obstacles emerge and we must never forget that his life and his teachings continue to challenge us every day to stand up to hatred and inequality."

But the bigger question is: Who will play Martin Luther King Jr.? This is a biopic of a different beast. King wasn't an icon without voice or video like Lincoln or John Adams -- historical figures who can be easily cast because we have no workable memory of them. Nor is he the same as Ali or Ray -- icons, for sure, but not as far-reaching. Is there anyone under the age of 39 who can really become King and do his memory justice?
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