The best way to report this news is to swipe Jeff Wells’ paragraph about the dueling biopics, since he sums it up nicely.  There will be two on Martin Luther King, Jr., but one directed by the talented Ms. DuVernay:

Deadline‘s Michael Fleming is reporting that Middle of Nowhere director-writer Ava DuVernay (congrats, Ana!) has been signed by Pathe UK, Brad Pitt’s Plan B and producer Christian Colson to direct Selma, a feature drama about Martin Luther King‘s historic voting-rights campaign. The effort culminated in the 1965 Voting Rights Act, the heart of which was recently undermined by a Supreme Court decision. Middle Of Nowhere‘s David Oyelowo (The Butler, Lincoln) will reportedly play King. But Selma is now up against Paul Greengrass and Scott Rudin’s long-gestating Memphis, about King’s assassination and the hunt for King’s assassin James Earl Ray. Which will come out first? Any way you slice it, the second Martin Luther King movie will have a little something extra to prove.

The difference is, I guess, that one is about the assassin and the other is about King’s voting-rights campaign, the same campaign that just got overturned by our biased Supreme Court, I’m guessing.  Can’t wait!

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  • Jon

    First of all I am just happy that a MLK movie is FINALLY on its way to the multiplex. Obviously this is one of the long overdue historical figures who deserves the feature film treatment (Theodore Roosevelt being the other). And while I am excited/interested in anything that the great Paul Greengrass directs I must say that SELMA sounds much more interesting and important because it is actually about something that MLK did. I remember one of the criticisms of Rob Reiner’s GHOSTS OF MISSISSIPPI was that the film never addressed who Medgar Evers was and why he was important to the Civil Rights Movement and instead merely focused on his murder case and the man who assassinated him and the white lawyer who prosecuted the case. I really hope the Greengrass film addresses who MLK was and why he was important.

  • Tony

    “[B]iased Supreme Court”

    SCOTUS does something with which you disagree, it’s “biased.” SCOTUS upholds Obamacare or strikes down DOMA, and you eliminate the “biased” qualifier. Hmmmmm

    It should be noted that the LEAST predictable/ideological justices have been those appointed by Republicans, e.g., Anthony Kennedy (Reagan) and John Roberts (Bush 43). Former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (Reagan) would fall into this camp, too.

    It’s amazing that Malcolm X (boo) was the subject of a major movie before MLK (yay).

  • I already want to know who’s going to play Coretta in these productions. her and Jackie O were America’s queens.

  • Cameron

    Bleeding hearts.

  • murtaza

    release the damn MIDDLE OF NOWHERE on DVD first before going on to make another film…. It’s been nearly a year since the movie came out.

  • julian the emperor

    Greengrass could be the right guy if the goal is to avoid turning a film about MLK into a hagiography…he is a taut, direct and unsentimental choice.

  • Bryce Forestieri

    Agreed. I also think that him not being from here adds another layer of distance between what he’ll offer us and what the consensus expects and some will forcefully demand. I just hope he doesn’t use busted steadicams yet again. I’d like to see what’s going on. I got great vibes from CAPTAIN PHILLIPS trailer. Seems like it could be the first Greengrass film I will love.


    I have no idea what to expect from SELMA. I never saw MIDDLE OF NOWHERE. Who’s writing the script?

  • Bryce Forestieri

    Should also be noted that the NASTIEST ASSHOLES have been appointed by republicans, e.g., Antonin Scalia (Reagan) and Samuel Alito (Bush 43) would fall into this cringe-inducing reactionary camp

  • Should also be noted that the NASTIEST ASSHOLES have been appointed by republicans

    Please don’t fail to name Clarence Thomas among the most embarrassing GOP Supreme Court lackey’s in US history.

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