The fourth installment of the Emmy award-winning anthology docu-drama show, ‘Genius,’ Nat Geo and Disney+’s ‘Genius: MLK/X’ is a historical drama series that focuses on a couple of the most influential civil rights leaders in the history of humankind — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. Shedding light on the formative years of the two men, the narrative details how much their struggles and encounters with injustice shaped them as a person, giving them the strength and determination to become the voice of change. The humane side of them is also explored by delving deep into their complicated lives as sons, husbands, fathers, and brothers.
The focus is also on the unsung heroes, their respective wives — Coretta Scott King and Betty Shabazz — as they helped King and X successfully drive forward an important movement that continues to live to this day. Marking one of the last roles for Ron Cephas Jones, who passed away in 2023, the show also features compelling performances from Kelvin Harrison Jr., Aaron Pierre, Weruche Opia, Jayme Lawson, and Ron Cephas Jones. Taking us back in time with an accurate representation of the era, the show’s locations are also bound to intrigue the viewers.
Genius: MLK/X Filming Locations
‘Genius: MLK/X’ was filmed primarily in Georgia, especially in Macon and Atlanta. According to reports, principal photography for the fourth season of the anthology series got underway around November 2022 and lasted for about five months or so, before getting wrapped up in late April 2023.
‘Genius: MLK/X’ was shot in a number of locations in the city of Macon, located in Bibb County in the heart of Georgia. In downtown Macon, filming was carried out at The Capitol Theatre on 382 Second Street as well as Bibb County Courthouse at 601 Mulberry Street and First Presbyterian Church at 682 Mulberry Street. Since the narrative of the season delves into the lives of the civil rights icons MLK and Malcolm X, the production team chose several spots in the area to simulate the era.
In particular, Poplar Street, Second Street, Mulberry Street, Cherry Street, and seemingly a few other streets doubled up as the sites of the historic protest marches of New York as well as Selma to Montgomery in Alabama. Aside from embellishing the streets with props appertaining to the era, the art and production department of the show also adorned several shops with objects that complemented the setting.
The shooting for a significant portion of ‘Genius: MLK/X’ also took place in the city of Atlanta, the capital of Georgia. Situated at 315 Deshler Street Southwest in Atlanta, Tyler Perry Studios served as one of the primary filming sites for season 4 as the cast and crew members reportedly made the most of its facilities. Sprawled across 330 acres, the film studio is home to 12 state-of-the-art sound stages, the Historic District that provides an open space full of possibilities, and a diverse backlot with over 220 acres of groomed greenspace. All these amenities meet the requirements of all kinds of productions, making the Tyler Perry Studios a favorite among the filmmakers.
During the conversation with Screen Rant, Kelvin Harrison Jr., who portrays Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was asked about his experience shooting the 1963 March on Washington speech. As huge as it was for him, Kelvin revealed that he lost his voice the night before and got really worried about it. He was like “Oh my gosh, I don’t know what to do. I’m going to get fired because there are all these extras here and all these people here, and I don’t have a voice. They’re going to be mad at me because they’re going to go, like, ‘What did I do?.'” After spending the rest of the evening on vocal rest, he arrived on the set the following morning.
Kelvin said, “I had to do “I Have a Dream”, and I had to do “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” immediately after; the final speech he does. So I get there, and the first thing comes out, and I was like, “There’s a voice! There’s a voice!.”‘ Talking about the impact of the extras, he elaborated, “And the extras; we had the most incredible extras on this set. They uplifted us in such a real way, and they gave us energy. They gave us love. They made us feel like we were there. They transported us. That was the experience.”
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