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Lee Daniels and Hugh Jackman Partnering on ‘JFK’-Esque Martin Luther King Drama ‘Orders to Kill’

Posted by , on August 1, 2012 at 9:00 am 

This could turn out very, very badly.

Lee Daniels is not a subtle filmmaker. Oliver Stone isn’t, either, but his incisive and lacerating approach was a perfect filmmaking conduit for the story of JFK; the film it resulted in was, I’d argue, very stupid, but it’s also one of the most compelling to emerge in the ’90s. Has Mr. Precious made anything on that level? No, and this fact alone might raise some real concerns about what’s coming next.

24Frames report that Daniels and Hugh Jackman are collecting some pieces of their failed Martin Luther King Jr. biopic, Selma — and, from it, want to make a conspiracy theory drama. The film, titled Orders to Kill, will tell “an alternative version of the King shooting,” one in which the assassin is not James Earl Ray — i.e., the most commonly accepted perpetrator — but, among others, U.S. government members who got hot under the collar when King started speaking out against the Vietnam War.

Jackman is set to play William Pepper, a real-life attorney who’s spent years perpetuating these very ideas. (Hanna Weg adapted his book for the screenplay, even.) Although most still lay the guilt on Ray, Pepper’s actions have earned the trust of King’s son, Dexter, and his 1999 wrongful death claim against Loyd Jowers — owner of a restaurant near the site of King’s death — “and unknown co-conspirators” proved successful. In a fashion not dissimilar to JFK, this portion of his story will serve as Orders‘ conclusion.

It could really sing in the hands of certain filmmakers, and history shows that Daniels is probably not one of them. The worst part? When the subject matter is this serious, the implications behind it so horrifying, you can’t even enjoy the potential disaster that might arise.

Millennium Films are carrying the financial duties on Orders, but will try to find a distributor.

Based on what we’ve heard, is there a chance Orders to Kill will come out strong?


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