By Howard Pousner
While there have been a smattering of depictions of Martin Luther King Jr. since his death in 1968, Hollywood and Broadway have long approached the slain civil rights leader with caution.
“People are somewhat holy about the iconic nature of Dr. King,” Atlanta director Kenny Leon said. “For the black community especially, it was like, he’s up there and you can’t touch him. Now, it’s come to a place where I can touch him.”
Leon is bringing the London hit “The Mountaintop,” probably starring Samuel L. Jackson, to Broadway this fall or next spring.
He’s in good company in interpreting the Atlanta minister’s story. Between movies, plays and TV, there are five major King projects in various states of production or planning, with others likely bubbling under the radar.
In addition to the largely fictional “Mountaintop,” there’s “I Dream,” the world premiere musical booked at the Alliance Theatre through the end of July. There are also two feature