Fight Among King Children Hurting Movie Chances

Published May 22, 2009

Steven Spielberg is having second thoughts about producing a movie about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. because the slain peacemaker’s children won’t stop fighting.

DreamWorks Studios announced Wednesday that it could renege on its plans to start filming a biopic on the civil rights leader unless Martin III, Bernice and Dexter settle their squabble over the agreement.

Ironically, Spielberg’s potential film might serve as a calming agent for the siblings, whose very public and loquacious feud over the past several months has centered on everything from the handling of the family estate to the agreement on the film. The award-winning director has told the Kings, who are all in favor of Spielberg’s studio displaying their father’s life, that they must settle their dispute or he’ll squash the whole idea.

In the latest sibling spat, Martin, 51, and Bernice, 46, are angry that Dexter, the chief executive of the King estate, finalized a deal with DreamWorks by himself. Dexter sent them an email to announce the agreement – at the same time the media were being informed by the studio.   Speaking to CNN’s Larry King, Bernice and Martin said they were stunned to learn of the deal and noted some concerns.

"I think Mr. Spielberg is a great producer and we look forward to hearing from him about the scope of this agreement," Bernice King said. "We know nothing about the scope of this agreement. We have no details to say whether or not this particular one is a good idea."

DreamWorks responded in a statement Wednesday.

"The purpose of making a movie about the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is to tell a great story which could bridge distances and bring people together," the statement said. "We remain committed to pursuing a film chronicling Martin Luther King's life provided that there is unity in the family so we can make a film about unity in our nation."

Written by BET.com Staff

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