Abstew continues his weekly look at acting contenders as their films open...
David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma
Born: David Oyetokunbo Oyelowo was born 1 April, 1976 in Oxford, England
The Role: Filmmakers have been having a dream of bring a film about civil rights leader, Martin Luther King, Jr. to the big screen for years now. And this particular story, not a traditional cradle to tomb biopic of the man, but focusing on the Voting Rights marches in Selma, Alabama in 1965, has been in development since 2007 when British screenwriter Paul Webb completed his script. Various directors had been attached at one point and it was almost made in 2010 by Lee Daniels, who dropped the project due to lack of funding and to make The Butler instead. It finally comes to us from writer/director Ava DuVernay, who could make history by becoming the first African-American female director nominated for a Best Director Oscar.
British actor David Oyelowo had been attached to play Dr. King when Daniels was on board to direct (the two had previously worked together on The Paperboy and again in The Butler). And it was Oyelowo who suggested DuVernay to the producers after they worked together on her 2012 film, Middle of Nowhere. Oyelowo has stated that when he read the script back in 2007, that God told him he would play the part. [more...]