Paramount To Make MLK Pic ‘Selma’; Oprah Winfrey Producing

By | Tuesday February 25, 2014 @ 7:55pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Big news on the MLK movie front. Paramount is in final negotiations to acquire dr-martin-luther-king-jr-5domestic distribution rights to Selma, a feature drama about Martin Luther King‘s 1965 landmark voting rights campaign regarded as the peak of the civil rights movement, and none other than Oprah Winfrey has boarded the project as producer. Paramount is tying down U.S. and Canadian distribution rights to the film. Ava DuVernay, who came aboard the project in July, rewrote the original script by Paul Webb and slipped it to Winfrey, who sparked to DuVernay’s rewrite. We’ve been waiting for a strong cinematic tribute to the iconic civil rights leader, and this remarkably becomes the second MLK project that Winfrey is involved with. Her Harpo also is behind a seven-part HBO miniseries America: In the King Years. Selma is on a much faster track. The plan is to get rollingParamountLogo_new in front of cameras as soon as possible. Lining up a domestic deal and a name of Winfrey’s caliber were key to getting the ball rolling, and when the deal makes production is expected to start right away. Pathe UK, Brad Pitt’s Plan B and Christian Colson are already aboard as producers.

Winfrey’s presence both on and off the screen was a big reason Lee Daniels’ The Butler traveled so well overseas. The Butler has grossed $167.7 million to date — more than $50M of that internationally. This gives Selma a leg up on the other two major features that are percolating. Oliver Stone last month saw a script rewrite on his MLK biopic rejected by DreamWorks and Warner Bros, and it caused him to back out of the project. Meanwhile, Paul Greengrass still isn’t ready to move on his biopic Memphis that he plans to make with Scott Rudin. 

Related: Fleming Q&As Paul Greengrass On Oscar Contender ‘Captain Phillips’, MLK
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‘Dallas Buyers Club’, Ted Sarandos & Ava DuVernay Set For Film Independent Forum

By | Wednesday September 18, 2013 @ 11:40am PDT

Netflix‘s Ted Sarandos will headline the 9th annual confab hosted by Film Independent with an October 26 Executive Keynote speech addressing “the possibilities and the risks ahead for filmmakers in this new media age.” The … Read More »

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Ava DuVernay Now Aboard To Direct MLK Biopic ‘Selma’

By | Thursday July 11, 2013 @ 12:06pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that writer-director Ava DuVernay has been set by Pathe UK, Brad Pitt’s Plan B and producer Christian Colson to helm Selma, a feature drama about Martin Luther King‘s 1965 landmark voting rights campaign regarded … Read More »

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OSCARS Q&A: Ava DuVernay

By | Thursday January 3, 2013 @ 10:30am PST

Christy Grosz is Editor of AwardsLine.

In a season dominated by splashy studio fare from relatively mainstream directors, the quiet African-American focused Middle Of Nowhere is something of an anomaly. Shot in just 19 days in and around Los Angeles, the microbudgeted film about a woman who works to earn her nursing degree while dealing with a husband in prison is the second feature from former publicist Ava DuVernay, who started her filmmaking career just five years ago at age 35. Not only did DuVernay write and direct the feature—which has earned three Independent Spirit Award nominations, plus a breakthrough Gotham Award for star Emayatzy Corinealdi—but she launched her own film collective, AFFRM, to distribute. On the eve of a new year, and in the middle of moving, DuVernay took time to speak with AwardsLine about her work as a businesswoman and as a filmmaker.

Related: OSCARS: Will Earlier Voting Schedule Influence Nominations? Read More »

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Sundance Winner Ava DuVernay Helms Venus Williams Doc For ESPN

By | Friday September 7, 2012 @ 7:00am PDT

EXCLUSIVE: This year’s Sundance Film Festival best director Ava DuVernay is helming an in-depth documentary that explores tennis star Venus Williams’ fight for fair pay at Wimbledon. Entitled Venus VS, the project is directed by … Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘Middle Of Nowhere’

By | Wednesday July 25, 2012 @ 6:03pm PDT

Here’s a trailer for Sundance Best Director winner Middle Of Nowhere, which Participant Media and AFFRM acquired at the festival and plan to release October 12th. Written and directed by Ava DuVernay, the movie stars Emayatzy Corinealdi, David Oyelowo, Omari Hardwick, Lorraine Touissaint, Edwina Findley and Sharon Lawrence.

Watch the … Read More »

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