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Selma director Ava DuVernay shot her new film about the civil rights movement’s 1965 bloody march to voting equality in just six weeks this summer in Atlanta and Alabama. Scheduled to open in limited release on Christmas Day, Selma stars David Oyelowo as MLK, Carmen Ejogo as Coretta Scott King, Andre Holland as Andrew Young, and Stephan James as a young John Lewis. We talked with DuVernay in the fall, when she took a break from the editing room to discuss the film.
This June, Ava DuVernay, director of Selma—the long-delayed movie about a pivotal period in the life of Martin Luther King Jr.—stood at the front of historic Wheat Street Baptist Church. She was preparing for a scene featuring Stephan James, the Canadian actor who plays civil rights legend John Lewis. “My back was turned to the door when suddenly Stephan’s eyes got big,” DuVernay said.
Even by eager-to-please Atlanta standards, a new standing ovation record may have been set at Landmark Midtown Arts Cinema during October’s BronzeLens Film Festival. After seeing just six minutes of Selma, Paramount Pictures’ upcoming drama chronicling MLK and the 1965 Alabama voting rights campaign, the crowd rose and applauded wildly for director Ava DuVernay.