Chris Rock is set to direct a Martin Luther King Jr. biopic.

The 58-year-old comedian and actor is in final talks to helm and produce the new movie about the celebrated civil rights campaigner that also has Steven Spielberg involved as an executive producer.

Universal Pictures is backing the picture after optioning the rights to Jonathan Eig's biography 'King: A Life'.

The book has been described as the definitive biography of the civil rights leader - who was assassinated in 1968 - and uses new FBI information and hundreds of interviews to portray King as a "courageous but emotionally troubled individual who demanded peaceful protest while grappling with his own frailties and a government that hunted him".

Universal's Ryan Jones will oversee production on the untitled movie on behalf of the studio and the project is being produced by Spielberg's Amblin Partners.

It is currently in the early stages of development and casting news is yet to be announced.

Rock has previous experience as a director after helming the movies 'I Think I Love My Wife' and 'Top Five' but this will be his biggest project yet.

The star was infamously slapped by a furious Will Smith at the Oscars last year after making jokes about the 'King Richard' star's wife Jada Pinkett Smith and is said to be keen to "move on" from the incident after addressing it in his Netflix special 'Selective Outrage'.

An insider told Entertainment Tonight: "He said everything he wanted to say. It was funny, self-deprecating, and thought-provoking. Now, Chris is ready to move on."