Joe Berlinger’s ‘Slay the Dreamer’ Film Lands Financing From Oakhurst Entertainment

EXCLUSIVE: Oakhurst Entertainment has come aboard to finance Slay The Dreamer, the film based on the life of civil rights activist and advisor to Martin Luther King Rev. James Lawson from Oscar-nominated filmmaker Joe Berlinger.

Berlinger is directing from a screenplay by Donald Freed and Mark Lane. It follows Lawson’s efforts to reopen the investigation of King’s murder. Lawson, who was instrumental in the Sanitation Workers’ Strike in Memphis, Lawson invited King to the city to speak to the workers the night before his assassination.

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. The investigation to free Walden revealed facts and events that corroborated her and Lawson’s belief that Ray did not kill King.

Oakhurst founders Jai Khanna and Marina Grasic are producing the project with Elizabeth Fowler, Harold Perrineau as well as Berlinger. They are aiming for a Spring 2020 production start date.

Deadline recently broke the news of Oakhurst acquiring Sully scribe Todd Karmanicki’s action spec, Savior, which is on the fast track out to talent. The company also has Rodrigo Garcia’s drama Four Good Days, starring Glenn Close and Mila Kunis, and Black Bear, with Aubrey Plaza and Chris Abbot, on its forthcoming slate.


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