Friday, August 29, 2014
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MLK film 'Selma' in production, David Oyelowo stars

A Martin Luther King Jr., biopic, from the director of the Sundance and Black Reel-winning 'Middle of Nowhere' and the producers of '12 Years a Slave," with David Oyelowo starring as the Civil Rights leader, is under way.

MLK film ‘Selma’ in production, David Oyelowo stars

Actor David Oyelowo will star as the Civil Rights leader in A Martin Luther King Jr., biopic. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
Actor David Oyelowo will star as the Civil Rights leader in A Martin Luther King Jr., biopic. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Selma, a dramatization of one of the pivotal chapters in the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. – his 1965 campaign for voting rights – is in production, with the British-born David Oyelowo as the Civil Rights icon. The casting has a nice symmetry to it: In  2013’s Lee Daniels’ The Butler, Oyelowo (pronounced oh-yellow-oh) played White House butler Cecil Gaines’ son. Tensions between father and son mount through the film, with Oyelowo’s character becoming increasingly radicalized, going from a Freedom Rider to a follower of Martin Luther King, and then a Black Panther.

Ava DuVernay, the first African-American woman to win the Best Director Prize at Sundance Film Festival, for her second feature, Middle of Nowhere, in 2012, is helming, with Carmen Ejogo as Coretta Scott King, and Tom Wilkisnon as President Lyndon Johnson (how’s Bryan Cranston feel about that?). Actor and rapper Common also has a role. Plan B, the production company behind 12 Years a Slave (with Brad Pitt  as one of its principals) is co-producing along with Oyelow's Butler co-star, Oprah Winfrey. There’s a chance, says industry blogger Anne Thompson (Thompson On Hollywood), that Selma could be shot, cut and soundtracked in time for the key fall film fests -- Toronto, Telluride, New York.

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Steven Rea Inquirer Movie Columnist and Critic
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Steven Rea Inquirer Movie Columnist and Critic
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