Fresh off a Best Director Oscar nomination for Precious, Lee Daniels is gearing up for his third project, Selma. After casting Hugh Jackman as a racist sheriff, Daniels went low key for his leading man. Relatively unknown British actor David Oyelowo will portray civil rights leader, Martin Luther King, Jr. You may recognize Oyelowo as Dr. Junju from The Last King of Scotland, but otherwise his profile has been small. Soon, you’ll know the name better when he stars in George Lucas’ upcoming Tuskegee Airman ensemble piece Red Tails.

This is probably for the better, and we’ve seen what Daniels can do with unproven actors. The Oscar-nominated performance given by Gabourey Sidibe in Precious is one of Hollywood’s greatest stories in recent memory, and no doubt is partly attributed to Daniels’ directing ability.

Daniels has tackled some heavy subject matter in only two films, Shadowboxer (death) and Precious (abuse). Now, he will go after one of the most important of the 20th century; civil rights. The story revolves around Martin Luther King, Jr.’s historic marches through Selma, Alabama in 1965, but is not a biopic. It is a depiction of events, not a public figure. The events themselves merit a focused storyline, considering the horrendous results now known as “Bloody Sunday.”

The Hollywood Reporter says funding for this project is going through some snags. But when that happened on Precious, Daniels found a way to pull through with a well-crafted film. It wouldn’t hurt to get Tyler Perry and Oprah involved again, at least financially.

“Pathe International was on board to finance but might be scaling back its involvement, the extent of which was not immediately clear. It is known that the project is being shopped around in the hope of raising funds.”

It’s all kind of strange considering the film’s importance, Hugh Jackman’s involvement, and the success of Precious. On the other hand, Daniels is still a newbie and the film’s writer, Paul Webb, has literally nothing to show. Not to mention the scary subject matter and violence involved. Either way, this movie needs to be made and the story must be told.

Selma does not yet have a release date, and Alabama Governor George Wallace has yet to be cast. How do you feel about the casting of a smaller name? Is there anybody you think would have made a great Martin Luther King, Jr.?

Water Cooler Trivia: Mo’Nique played a character named Precious in Lee Daniels’ directorial debut, Shadowboxer. She also won an Oscar for her performance as the mother of a character named Precious in Daniels’ Precious.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter