Forest Whitaker to Play Martin Luther King Jr. in MEMPHIS May 31, 2013 Oscar-winning actor circles historical drama. Forest Whitaker (‘The Butler’ ‘The Last Stand,’ ‘The Last King of Scotland’) is in talks to play Martin Luther King Jr. in writer-director Paul Greengrass’ passion project, ‘Memphis,’ according to TheWrap. ‘Memphis’ chronicles the African-American Civil Rights leader’s final days as he struggled to organize a protest march on behalf of striking black municipal sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was slain. Greengrass’s script also deals with King’s marital troubles and the manhunt for his assassin James Earl Ray. Long-in-development, the historical drama was originally set up over at Universal Pictures but the film never got off the ground due to financing and scheduling. Greengrass and producer Scott Rudin will now seek funding from independent financiers.