Friday, August 19, 2022

Documentary About the Curious Case of Martin Luther King’s Murder in the Works

*A doc about the curious and mysterious death of Martin Luther King is in the works from Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning filmmaker Joe Berlinger, who has signed on to direct the project titled, “Slay the Dreamer,” Deadline reports.

The project is based on the life of friend and advisor to King, Rev. James Lawson, who played a vital role in the Sanitation Workers’ Strike in Memphis. Lawson invited King to the city during the strike to speak to the workers the night before his assassination.

Deadline has a breakdown of the plot:

Slay the Dreamer tells the true story of Lawson’s efforts to reopen the investigation of King’s murder. In 1976, Lawson discovered that Grace Walden — the only eyewitness to the man who shot King — had been involuntarily held in a mental institution outside Memphis since the assassination eight years earlier. Walden was held under a fake name after turning down a $100,000 reward from the FBI and refusing to sign an affidavit stating that James Earl Ray was the man she saw the day of the assassination. Walden stated emphatically that Ray looked nothing like the man she saw. Lawson had been looking for Walden for eight years and finally found her at the institution. The film tracks the investigation to free Walden, uncovering disturbing facts and events suggesting she was correct in her and Lawson’s belief that Ray did not kill King.

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Actor Harold Perrineau, who brought the project to Berlinger and producer Elizabeth Fowler, will also produce, while 90-year-old Lawson will act as a consultant, according to Deadline.

“This is an extremely painful chapter of American history that for many remains unresolved,” Berlinger said. “In this era of accountability and racial division, I am extremely humbled at the prospect of working with Revered Lawson to shine a light on what really happened that fateful day 51 years ago.”

Fowler added: “Joe’s abilities as an investigative filmmaker in both scripted and unscripted form creates a unique opportunity to reveal shocking allegations behind this seminal event of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”

According to the report, Lawson and the families of John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X and King recently came together to call for a new investigation into their assassinations.

“On April 4, 1968, James Earl Ray did not assassinate or fire a gun at Martin Luther King Jr. and the evidence is overwhelming beyond a shadow of doubt,” Lawson said. “Ray was selected as a patsy for the planners of the assassination, which was a major part of the ‘politics of assassination’ of the 1960s that changed the history of our nation toward tyranny. This film uncovers a critical portion of the important truth about the assassinations of the 1960s which has led to where we are today as a nation. The politics of assassination is a major cause of the broken systems in U.S. society today. We the people of the USA need this film to help us recover a compass towards justice and truth.”

There is no release date as of yet for Berlinger’s doc.

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is an entertainment reporter with over 15 years of experience working in the film industry in areas including production and post-production, marketing, distribution, and acquisitions. She has worked for legendary film producer Roger Corman, Quentin Tarantino's production team at Miramax, the late Larry Flynt, MTV/ VH1, Hallmark Channel, Paramount, Jim Henson Co., Parade Magazine, and various LA-based companies representing above-the-line talent.

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