Ava DuVernay Takes Over Lee Daniels's Film Selma

The MLK biopic will be produced by Brad Pitt.

Posted: 07/12/2013 09:00 AM EDT
Ava DuVernay

After two standout micro-budget films, I Will Follow and Middle of Nowhere, Ava DuVernay is making her first big move in Hollywood. 

The publicist-turned-director, who was the first Black woman to win the Best Director prize at the Sundance Film Festival, has taken over the reigns from Lee Daniels on Selma. The Martin Luther King Jr. biopic, focusing on the civil rights leader's 1965 landmark voting rights campaign, is produced by Brad Pitt's company Plan B.

According to Deadline.com, Pitt and his colleagues were impressed with DuVernay after seeing Middle of Nowhere and approached her for the project after Daniels had to drop out over scheduling conflicts. 

DuVernay will reunite with her Middle of Nowhere actor David Oyelowo, who will play MLK, but it's unclear whether the remaining A-list cast that Daniels had assembled (Robert DeNiro, Hugh Jackman and Cedric the Entertainer) will stay on board.

The director is reportedly already location scouting for the film and tweaking the script in anticipation of a fast-approaching start date. Apparently, producers are keen to start shooting the film before a slew of other MLK projects, including ones from Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey, can launch.

This news is not only big news for DuVernay, but also for Hollywood, where Black women have been woefully underrepresented. 

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 (Photo: Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images)

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