Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Meet the Cast of 'Desperate Housewives - Africa' + the Characters from the American Original They Each Play (Premieres in 2 Weeks) Meet the Cast of 'Desperate Housewives - Africa' + the Characters from the American Original They Each Play (Premieres in 2 Weeks) Netflix's 'The Getdown' Directed by Baz Luhrman Has Found Its Female Lead Netflix's 'The Getdown' Directed by Baz Luhrman Has Found Its Female Lead Meet the 3 Leads for the Next 'Star Wars' Movie (John Boyega Is One of Them) + Watch New Teaser Meet the 3 Leads for the Next 'Star Wars' Movie (John Boyega Is One of Them) + Watch New Teaser Quentin Tarantino's 'H8ful Eight' Gets a Teaser Trailer (Samuel L. Jackson, Belinda Owino) Quentin Tarantino's 'H8ful Eight' Gets a Teaser Trailer (Samuel L. Jackson, Belinda Owino) Here Are the Cities & Theaters in Which Patrik-Ian Polk's Award-Winning Drama 'Blackbird' Will Open Here Are the Cities & Theaters in Which Patrik-Ian Polk's Award-Winning Drama 'Blackbird' Will Open Trailer: Pilot Project 'First Gen' (The Trials and Tribulations of Being a First Gen Nigerian-American) Trailer: Pilot Project 'First Gen' (The Trials and Tribulations of Being a First Gen Nigerian-American) TV One Shores Up 2015-2016 Slate with 8 New Series, 16 Original Movies + New Production Partnerships TV One Shores Up 2015-2016 Slate with 8 New Series, 16 Original Movies + New Production Partnerships 'Walking Dead' Creator Says Rick and Morgan's Reunion Will Be "The Spine" of Season 6 'Walking Dead' Creator Says Rick and Morgan's Reunion Will Be "The Spine" of Season 6 Abderrahmane Sissako's 'Timbuktu' Quietly Grosses Over $1 Million in USA Box Office - Rare for an African Film Abderrahmane Sissako's 'Timbuktu' Quietly Grosses Over $1 Million in USA Box Office - Rare for an African Film Rumorville: Ernie Hudson Circling T'Chaka Role in Marvel's 'Black Panther' Movie Rumorville: Ernie Hudson Circling T'Chaka Role in Marvel's 'Black Panther' Movie Watch Cuba Gooding Jr. Wield a Gun and Snort Coke in his Underwear in Clip from 'Big Time in Hollywood, FL' Watch Cuba Gooding Jr. Wield a Gun and Snort Coke in his Underwear in Clip from 'Big Time in Hollywood, FL' People in Chicago Are Not Happy with Spike Lee’s 'Chiraq' People in Chicago Are Not Happy with Spike Lee’s 'Chiraq' Check Out the First Trailer for HBO's New Dramedy Series 'Ballers' Starring Dwayne Johnson Check Out the First Trailer for HBO's New Dramedy Series 'Ballers' Starring Dwayne Johnson 'Tales of the Grim Sleeper,' on Serial Killer Who Murdered Black Women for 25 Years, Debuts April 27 on HBO 'Tales of the Grim Sleeper,' on Serial Killer Who Murdered Black Women for 25 Years, Debuts April 27 on HBO Apparently, Many of You Aren't Pleased With the "All-New" 'Single Ladies'... What's Going on? Apparently, Many of You Aren't Pleased With the "All-New" 'Single Ladies'... What's Going on? What to Expect in Season 2 of 'Empire' (Less Opulence; Spike Lee May Direct, Oprah May Guest-Star, More) What to Expect in Season 2 of 'Empire' (Less Opulence; Spike Lee May Direct, Oprah May Guest-Star, More) Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

Paramount Pictures Jumps On Board Ava DuVernay's 'Selma' w/ Oprah Winfrey Producing

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act February 26, 2014 at 1:24PM

Paramount Pictures Jumps On Board Ava DuVernay's 'Selma' w/ Oprah Winfrey Producing
12
Ava DuVernay

Finally, one of a handful of Martin Luther King Jr projects that we've been tracking for years now, inches closer to becoming a reality, separating itself from the pack.

It all started last month, with Oprah Winfrey coming on board to act as a producer on Ava DuVernay's MLK pic, Selma, which David Oyelowo is attached to star in. 

Announced this week, the project gets a major lift thanks to a Hollywood studio in Paramount, negotiating to acquire domestic distribution rights to the film, with the goal being to launch production as soon as possible.

DuVernay took over directing duties of the film from Lee Daniels, who had long been attached to helm, but faced a financing wall (among other hurdles), and moved on to other projects.

Winfrey joins the Pathe UK-backed project, which already boasts Brad Pitt’s Plan B and Christian Colson (who won an Oscar for producing Slumdog Millionaire) as producers. Talk about a quad of heavies behind the project.

mlk

The feature drama centers on the 1965 landmark voting rights campaign regarded as the peak of the civil rights movement. 

So it's not specifically an MLK biopic, as other MLK projects in development we know of, are.

It's worth noting that Oprah also has an HBO miniseries on MLK in the works, announced a few years ago. No word on what the status of that project is, given her attachment to DuVernay's Selma.

The other key MLK project we know of is Paul Greengrass' Memphis, which we learned, most recently, Forest Whitaker will star in.

Oliver Stone's project, which was to star Jamie Foxx, is dead. 

In addition to Oyelowo, the cast of Daniels' original Selma (before DuVernay took over) also included Lenny Kravitz (as civil rights activist Andrew Young), Cedric The Entertainer (as Ralph Abernathy), Hugh Jackman (as racist Selma sheriff Jim Clark), and Liam Neeson (as President Lyndon Baines Johnson). 

No word yet on whether any of them is still attached or even interested.

I should also note, in closing, that it was in 2012 when Lee Daniels, apparently unable to get Selma off the ground, announced that he was teaming with Hugh Jackman (who was also attached to Selma), to take on Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination, in a new film that would reportedly explore an "unconventional view of King's murder."

To be titled Orders To Kill, the film was to tell an alternative version of the MLK shooting, with Daniels directing of course, and Jackman starring. It would be based on William Pepper's book of the same name, which had already been adapted to screenplay format, and was apparently ready to be shot, with Millennium Films producing and finance the film.

Last we checked, over a year ago, the project was being shopped around to distributors in Hollywood. But no word on whether it's still alive. Likely not.

For years, films about the Civil Rights Leader and icon have stalled, with disapproval of content (specifically depictions of MLK in each script) by influential voices (Andrew Young and the King Estate notably) being a primary hurdle. 

It however looks like Selma is on its way to becoming a reality, finally, especially with Oprah, and now Paramount, jumping on board.

This will mark DuVernay's first big budget (relative to the budgets for the indie features she's previously directed) Hollywood studio picture. 

This article is related to: Ava DuVernay, Oprah Winfrey


Shadow & ActNewsletter