'Selma' Producer Oprah Winfrey Also Takes Civil Rights Leader Role
The civil rights drama Selma is already shooting down in Georgia, and Oprah Winfrey is producing the film that follows the historic 1965 voting rights campaign sparked by Martin Luther King Jr. The cast was just expanded with Tim Roth taking the role of Governor George Wallace, and now The Wrap reports Winfrey herself also has a role in the film. The television giant and Oscar nominee will be playing Annie Lee Cooper, an elderly woman who tried to register to vote and was unfairly denied by Sheriff Jim Clark (played by Stan Houston). Cooper became one of the more prominent leaders amongst the civil rights protesters.
The rest of the cast includes David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr., Carem Ejogo as Coretta Scott King, Tom Wilkinson as Lyndon B. Johnson, Cuba Gooding Jr. as Fred Gray, Common as James Bevel, Wendell Pierce as Reverend Hosea Williams, Stephen James as John Lewis, Nigel Thatch as Malcolm X and Keith Stanfield as Jimmie Lee Jackson. That's a nice mix of established talent and lesser known stars, and hopefully the result is something better than Winfrey's last on-screen effort in The Butler.
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Winfrey talked about the film shortly after Maya Angelou died, but the poet who was part of the civil rights movement threw her support behind Winfrey's production, “She was so proud that I was doing this movie. And she said, ‘Take it baby. Take it all the way. Take it all the way,' She was a part of the movement, worked with Martin Luther King, understood what we were trying to do with this film.” It's not the only film Winfrey has on her plate this year as she also produced The Hundred Foot Journey starring Helen Mirren, coming this August.