Forest Whitaker has been tipped to play civil rights icon Martin Luther King, Jr. in a new movie.

The Oscar-winning actor is said to be in talks to tackle the lead role in Memphis, a new film by Paul Greengrass, the British director responsible for two Bourne films.

The movie will recount the final days of King's life before he was assassinated in 1968 and will be shot in a documentary-style format similar to Greengrass' 9/11 movie United 93.

Whitaker is currently favourite to take the coveted role of King, according to