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The Write Way

It's official. Acclaimed playwright and Academy Award winning screenwriter Ronald Harwood will write the screenplay for DreamWorks Studios’ Martin Luther King...

Written by EXPRESS FEATURES SERVICE |
January 24, 2010 11:47:12 pm

Oscar-winner Ronald Harwood to write Martin Luther King,Jr. story for Dreamworks Studios

It’s official. Acclaimed playwright and Academy Award winning screenwriter Ronald Harwood will write the screenplay for DreamWorks Studios’ Martin Luther King,Jr. bio-pic while Steven Spielberg,Suzanne de Passe and Madison Jones will produce the film on the renowned civil rights leader. The DreamWorks film will be the first theatrical motion picture to be authorised by The King Estate to utilize the intellectual property of Dr. King to create the definitive portrait of his life. Dr. King copyrighted his speeches,books,and famous works during his lifetime.

“It is so gratifying for all of us at DreamWorks Studios to have a writer as respected and honored as Ronald Harwood to write the screenplay for our Martin Luther King film,” said Mark Sourian and Holly Bario. “His record of achievements makes him particularly suited to portraying this deeply personal story against the background of such a turbulent time.”

One of the world’s most critically celebrated contemporary playwrights and screenwriters,the Oscar-winning Harwood brings to this much-anticipated project a career-long fascination with themes surrounding race,conscience and moral choices. Harwood is equally renowned for his revealing recreations of history,as in his Academy Award-winning screenplay for The Pianist,Oscar nominations for The Dresser which lifted the curtain on backstage life in a World War II theatre,and for adapting the non-fiction tale of human transcendence,The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. A native of South Africa,he has written extensively about apartheid,including the films Mandela,adaptation of Alan Paton’s powerful classic,Cry The Beloved Country. He has also penned two anti-apartheid novels and two anti-apartheid plays. Harwood’s diverse screen work brings to life enduring issues of human responsibility. Some of his works include the Soviet gulag drama One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich; Taking Sides,the screen adaptation of his play about a conductor in Nazi Germany; and the W. Somerset Maugham story of 1930s revenge,Being Julia. On his approach to Dr. King’s life and impact,he says,“What I always say – I will do my utmost to be true to truth.”

Dead End

IT’S inspired by a true story,and throws light on crime and punishment. Akshar Media Production’s forthcoming film,The Hangman,is set in the 1970s and deals with the emotional impact of the hangman’s profession on the protagonist,his wife and his son. The film stars Om Puri,Gulshan Grover,Shreyas Talpade,Smita Jayakar,Tom Alter,Nazneen Ghani and Amrita Bedi. Produced by US-based Bipin Patel and directed by former journalist Vishal Bhandari,this English film is the story of Shiva who has executed hundreds of criminals as he was forced into this work due to the family tradition. Shiva (Om Puri) battles the social stigma which surrounds his unique profession. The Hangman portrays the guilt-ridden executioner who wants his only son to don the uniform of a policeman. It features Gulshan Grover as an upright jailor who goes out of his way to help Shiva,and Shreyas Talpade as the executioner’s son.

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