The docuseries wave has found its next subject: Rodney King.
Producers Morgan Freeman and Lori McCreary, through their company Revelations Entertainment (“Madam Secretary,” “The Story of God”), are developing a multi-part limited series on the life of Rodney King.
In partnership with director Sheldon Wilson (“Once Upon a Crime”), they’ve acquired the rights to over 20 hours of newly discovered, never-before-seen video of Rodney King, filmed over a 12-year period before his death in 2012. The footage was filmed by Dennis McDougal and Ira Abrams.
The project will explore King through his own words in the intimate, home video-style footage: his youth with an alcoholic father, navigating behind-the-scenes turmoil during his civil trial, and his life post-trial dealing with his injuries and his status as a reluctant civil rights figure.
“Our company is about revealing the truth, and we thought this would be a great way to reveal the truth about who this man was,” McCreary tells Variety. “We’ve had such a narrow view of who he was. There’s so much more to the story. I’m excited to finally be able to reveal the truth.”
The plan is to pitch the project to networks in the coming weeks — “the usual suspects,” says McCreary, “A&E, Amazon, CNN, HBO and Netflix.”
King’s surviving family members are working with the producers and will appear on camera, many for the first time, including his daughters, brother, sister, and his first wife. Others interviewed include his attorneys, Steven Lerman and Milton Grimes, as well as close friends Reverend Al Sharpton and Dr. Drew Pinsky.
“Telling this story from the perspective of people who knew him and in his own words, we’ll see a different Rodney King —a generous, intelligent, loving man,” McCreary adds.
This project marks the latest among the recent spate of documentaries marking the 25th anniversary of the L.A. riots. But McCreary says that event is just a part of his story, and they’re targeting a release date of 2018. “We need to look beyond the stereotypes and the soundbites,” she says. “If we’re ever going to find a way to make things better, it’s important for us to hear all of these stories in their fullness.”
Along with McCreary and Freeman, James Younger serves as executive producer, and Marie-Lou Gingras will produce and edit.