Writer-director Ava DuVernay (I Will Follow, Middle of Nowhere) has reportedly signed on to Selma, the film centering on the Civil Rights movement and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s march from Selma to Montgomery. The first Black woman to win Best Director at Sundance, DuVernay has been scouting filming locations and working on the script with Paul Webb since April of this year. DuVernay will reunite with Middle of Nowhere’s lead, David Oyelowo, who will play King in Selma. Hit the jump for more.
Deadline reports that Selma is now in DuVernay’s hands. The Civil Rights picture was previously eyed by Lee Daniels (The Paperboy), who put it aside to work on his current feature, The Butler. As a side note, Oyelowo will also star in that picture which centers on long-time White House butler Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker).
Producers on Selma are hoping to get a jump on the film before other MLK-themed pictures can get started. Daniels was also attached to direct Hugh Jackman (The Wolverine) in the King assassination picture, Orders to Kill. Another shelved picture is Paul Greengrass and Scott Rudin’s Memphis, about King’s final days and his struggle to organize a protest march on behalf of striking black municipal sanitation workers in Memphis, TN, the site of his assassination. Steven Spielberg also has a long-developing King picture that revolves around the civil rights leader’s admiration for Mahatma Gandhi. Lastly, there’s Harpo Films’ Oprah Winfrey and Kate Forte’s HBO miniseries America: The King Years, based on Tyler Branch’s book trilogy. The 50th anniversary of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech occurs this August 28th.