Ronald Harwood to script Martin Luther biopic | india | Hindustan Times
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Ronald Harwood to script Martin Luther biopic

india Updated: Jan 21, 2010 14:04 IST

Oscar winning screenwriter Ronald Harwood will pen the screenplay for the civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. biopic that will be made by DreamWorks Studios, a venture promoted by Steven Spielberg and Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group.

The announcement was made by DreamWorks co-presidents Mark Sourian and Holly Bario. Spielberg, Suzanne de Passe and Madison Jones will produce the film about the renowned civil rights leader.

"I will not say anything about my approach to this screenplay except to say what I always say, 'I will do my utmost to be true to truth'," said Harwood.

The DreamWorks movie will be the first theatrical motion picture to be authorised by the King Estate to utilise the intellectual property of King, who copyrighted his speeches, books and works during his lifetime.

"It is so gratifying for all of us at DreamWorks Studios to have a writer as respected and honoured as Ronald Harwood to write the screenplay for our Martin Luther King film," said Sourian and Bario in a joint statement released here Tuesday.

"His record of achievements makes him particularly suited to portraying this deeply personal story against the background of such a turbulent time."

Born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1929, King became a civil rights activist early in his career as a pastor. He led the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955 and helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957.

His pioneering efforts to deliver racial equality through civil disobedience and other non-violent means led to the March on Washington in 1963, where he delivered his renowned "I Have a Dream" speech.

In 1964, King became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to end racial segregation and racial discrimination.

He was assassinated in April 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee, at the age of 39, and posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2004.

Harwood is known for revealing recreations of history in his Oscar-winning screenplay for "The Pianist".

He also received Oscar nominations for "The Dresser", which lifted the curtain on backstage life in a theatre during the Second World War and for adapting the non-fiction tale of human transcendence, "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly".

A native of South Africa, Harwood has written extensively about apartheid, including the films "Mandela", written while the future South African leader was still in prison, and an adaptation of Alan Paton's powerful classic, "Cry The Beloved Country".