We’re at long last getting a modern big-screen treatment of civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., in the shape of the upcoming biographical film Selma. The movie stars David Oyelowo (The Butler, Interstellar) in the role of Dr. King and takes place over three months during the year 1965, when King helped campaign for racially-based voting discrimination in the U.S. to be legally prohibited – an action that frequently put King, his family, and his supporters directly in the line of fire.
Directed by Ava DuVernay (I Will Follow, Middle of Nowhere) and written for the screen by Paul Webb (making his debut as a produced screenwriter), Selma is shaping up to be a biopic in the vein of Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, in that it explores its subject’s (here, Dr. King) character and their personal life through the context of a key historical event that they were an essential player in.
Similar to Lincoln, Selma boasts a cast full of well-established character actors – like Oprah Winfrey, Tom Wilkinson, Cuba Gooding Jr., Lorraine Toussaint, and Tim Roth – along with such up and comers as Tessa Thompson (Dear White People). The first trailer for Selma (watch it above) effectively highlights King’s political struggle, as well as the often brutal and violent response to Dr. King’s nonviolent protest, but we’ll have to wait and see how much fresh insight DuVernary’s movie provides regarding Dr. King himself and the people in his life.
Of course, similar concerns surround other biographical treatments of real people’s lives – those, like Selma, arriving at the tail-end of 2014 for awards consideration, that is. That includes Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken (about recently-deceased WWII vet Louis Zamperini) and Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper (detailing the life of the late U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle). Which end up being celebrated as memorable accomplishments – and which ones end up on the long list of standard “Oscar bait” films – remains to be determined.
Selma, for its part, looks solid so far and will benefit from being anchored by an excellent actor like Oyelowo (who’s done some physical transforming to play Dr. King); like most films about racially-based inequality, it will have timeliness on its side too. On that note, you can check out the poster for Selma, below (click the image for the full-sized version).
Selma begins an Oscar-qualifying theatrical run in NY and LA on December 25th, 2014; it expands nation-wide in the U.S. on January 9th, 2015.
Source: Yahoo! Movies