‘Selma’ movie crew visits downtown

Published 10:22pm Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Weeks after the 49th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, a film crew was in downtown Selma Wednesday, scouting locations for an Oprah Winfrey and Brad Pitt produced movie. 

The movie, titled “Selma” centers on the Selma to Montgomery marches in 1965. The first of the marches is known as Bloody Sunday and is celebrated yearly with the Bridge Crossing Jubilee.

The movie will begin filming in Selma in July and focus on some of Selma’s iconic landmarks, according to location assistant Leif Tilden. Tilden said crews would film at the Edmund Pettus Bridge and Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church. Other potential locations include the Dallas County Courthouse and Amelia Boynton’s house.

“This is the first time we are all sort of together with the director,” Tilden said Wednesday morning. “Time is of the essence and this is a day to go around with the director to get the feel and the vibe and put the story together.”

The crews met with Mayor George Evans and Selma-Dallas County Chamber of Commerce Director Sheryl Smedley Wednesday.

Smedley referred questions to the Alabama Film Office, who declined to comment on the movie. Mayor George Evans did not return requests for comment.

Linda Vice, Director of the Southwest Alabama Office of Tourism and Film, said films can be an important economic boost for the area.

“It’s a chance to put ourselves on display for the whole world,” Vice said. “It can be a huge boon for tourism across the region if the movie is a hit. I was just in Greenwood, Miss. recently, and they have developed a whole tour around the places seen in ‘The Help,’ and that’s been huge for them.”

The movie will also film in Atlanta, according to a news release.

The movie is currently casting for several roles, including bombing victims, Sheriff Jim Clark and Cager Lee, the grandfather of civil rights activist Jimmy Lee Jackson.

Several acting roles for the movie have already been announced. David Oyelowo will play the lead role of Martin Luther King Jr. Oyelowo recently played a union army soldier in “Lincoln,” a movie about America’s 16th president.

The director of “Selma” is Ava Duvernay.

who is the first African-American woman to win the Sundance Film Festival’s directing prize.

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