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[Movies] Paramount Acquires Rights To Martin Luther King Jr Biopic Selma
Posted by Joseph Lee on 02.26.2014

Deadline reports that Paramount is in final talks to acquire domestic distribution rights for Selma, a film about Martin Luther Jr's 1965 voting rights campaign, considered the peak of the civil rights movement. Oprah Winfrey has signed onto the film as a producer. Ava DuVernay (Middle of Nowhere) joined the film in July, rewrote the script and gave it to Winfrey. David Oyelowo will play King.

This is the second King project that Winfrey has been involved with. Her production company Harpo produced a seven-part HBO miniseries called America: In The King Years. Paramount's plan is to start shooting Selma as soon as possible, and Winfrey being on board will likely help that. Pathe UK, Brad Pitt's Plan B and Christian Colson will also produce. Winfrey's last production was Lee Daniels' The Butler, which was a huge hit. It has earned $167.7 million worldwide, with over $50 million coming from international box office.

There are two other MLK biopics being worked on. Oliver Stone had one with Dreamworks and Warner Bros that recently had a script rewrite rejected, which led to him leaving the film. Paul Greengrass has another called Memphis that he is planning to make with Scott Rudin.

Lee Daniels was originally set to direct Selma but since there were funding issues he went on to make The Butler. At the time, the cast included Oyelowo, Hugh Jackman, Liam Neeson, Ray Winstone, Robert De Niro, and Cedric the Entertainer. Jackman gained 30 pounds to play Jim Clark, a sheriff who arrested King, but when the project fell apart he lost the weight to star in Real Steel.


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