Watford is planning to adapt the book for television via his Tyler Street Films partnership with Jack Manning III and Tiffany Elle Burgess; all are graduates of Hampton University, a historically black college in Virginia.
Published by the Chicago Review Press in 2018, The Seminarian explores Martin Luther King’s Jr. life as a student at Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania and his romance with a white woman, Betty Moitz, who was the daughter of the school dietitian.
The deal was negotiated by entertainment attorney Laverne Berry on behalf of Divine Write Pictures and Susan Schulman on behalf of Patrick Parr and Chicago Review Press.
“I’m always attracted to stories that have incongruence as a central theme,” Watford said, “so when I first read about Dr. King’s relationship with Betty Moitz in the press, I was intrigued — as I imagine most people probably were.”
The director-writer does make clear his intentions for acquiring the story.
“We’re always aware of the ways in which our heroes have impacted us during our formative years, but it’s rare that we get an authentic glimpse into the events and people who shaped them into these legendary people we celebrate today,” Watford said. “We also never get an opportunity to envision them, truly and fully as human beings. So the goal is to introduce us to the variety of people that influenced MLK’s life during that time.”
Tyler Street Films’ credits include Flipped, Catharsis and the animated short Skin Like Mine.
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