During the final week of Black History Month, according to deadline.com Paramount Pictures is in its closing negotiations for obtaining the domestic distribution rights to a new project about Martin Luther King. The feature drama, entitled Selma, is about MLK’s historic voting rights campaign which is viewed as one of the most pivotal moments in the Civil Rights Movement.
The project already has major names attached, and is said to begin production and filming as soon as possible. Director, writer, and producer Ava DuVernay is credited for rewriting the script and grabbing the interest of entertainment mogul Oprah Winfrey, who is now set to produce. DuVernay was the first black woman to win Best Director at Sundance for her 2012 drama Middle of Nowhere.
This project will mark the second MLK project Winfrey is now behind, as her company Harpo is already attached to a seven-part HBO miniseries America: In the King Years. Other Selma producers include Pathe UK, Brad Pitt’s Plan B and Christian Colson.
The project initially was supposed to be directed by Lee Daniels, who had lined up a star studded cast, but funding fell through and he eventually signed on to The Butler instead. Still set to play leading role of King is David Oyelowo (Lee Daniels’ The Butler, Middle of Nowhere).
Selma is off to a good start against major competition since two other MLK projects are currently at a standstill. Dreamworks and Warner Bros rejected a script rewrite of Oliver Stone’s biopic last month, which essentially caused him to back out of the project. Similarly, the Paul Greengrass and Scott Rudin biopic, Memphis, is also not ready to begin.