Hollywood likes to think of itself as very liberal, but while it likes to nibble around the edges of race relations in the US, any film that wants to tackle important aspects of the Civil Rights struggle faces a massive uphill battle to get funding.
That’s certainly true of Selma, which tells the story of one of the key moments in the fight for racial equality in America. Before making it to the screen it had massive problems getting cash, even when director Lee Daniels came onboard and lined up a star-filled cast .
In the end that version fell through and Daniels moved on, but thankfully it came back together under the direction of Ava DuVernay. Now the first images from the movie have been released, which you can see above and below.
The film focuses on the three marches that took place in Selma, Alabama in 1965. The first march planned to go from Selma to the State Capital, Montgomery, but was stopped after only six blocks by police and state troopers after Governor Wallace decided it was a threat to public safety (Wallace hated anything pro-desegregation and was one of the most powerful, vitriolic and visible forces against the civil rights movement). Protesters were them clubbed, gassed and whipped, with the TV footage of the violence shocking the US and galvanising support for civil rights.
A second, symbolic march took place two days later, led by Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo), which only went as far as the bridge where the previous protesters were stopped, because a court injunction prevented them going all the way to Montgomery. A week later the injunction was lifted and a third march set out, this time making it all the way to the state capital.
It was these marches and the public horror at the beatings of demonstrators that spurred Congress to start drafting laws that ended up with the Voting Rights Act, which for the first time explicitly gave African-Americans the right to vote.
In the pic above Oyelowo is joined by Carmen Ejogo as Coretta Scott King, while the image below features Tessa Thompson as Diane Nash, Omar Dorsey as James Orange, Colman Domingo as Ralph Abernathy, Oyelowo as King, André Holland as Andrew Young, Corey Reynolds as Rev. C.T. Vivian, and Lorraine Toussaint as Amelia Boynton.
An Oscar-bait Christmas US release in planned, with the film reaching the UK February 2015.