Ronald Harwood will write the screenplay for DreamWorks’ Martin Luther King Jr biopic that Steven Spielberg, Suzanne de Passe and Madison Jones are producing.

The project marks the first theatrical feature to be authorised by The King Estate to use the intellectual property of the late Civil Rights leader, who copyrighted his speeches, books, and other works during his lifetime.

DreamWorks’ co-presidents of production Mark Sourian and Holly Bario said Harwood, who won the adapted screenplay Oscar in 2003 for The Pianist, was “particularly suited to portraying this deeply personal story.”

Harwood earned Academy Award nominations for The Dresser and The Diving Bell And The Butterfly. His credits include Mandela and Cry The Beloved Country.