Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. biopic “Selma” serves to open up conversations about race relations, “The View” host Rosie O’Donnell observed to the film’s stars Monday.
“My 12-year-old daughter said, ‘Mommy, this is still happening right now, because of all the protests that are happening.’ It is like a new Civil Rights movement once again,”O’Donnell said.
The actors agreed that the film resonates.
“‘Selma’ is like a blueprint for what we can do, and some of the things we can do to change the situation,” said rapper Common, who plays activist James Bevel and is nominated for Best Song Oscar along with John Legend for “Glory” from the film. “And obviously, we have new resources.”
Carmen Ejogo, who plays Coretta Scott King in the film, said: “When you really stick to the idea of peaceful protests, it can have an impact that is policy changing. When the agenda is stuck, peaceful protests can have a really powerful message.”
The scope of actor David Oyelowo‘s roles over the years amply prepared the British actor to portray one of the United States’ most revered historical figures in the award-winning film.
“I first read the script in 2007. It took those seven years — I grew into it,” he said. “Playing a Union soldier in ‘Lincoln,’ a preacher in ‘The Help,’ the son of a butler in ‘The Butler’ and an African-American fighter pilot in ‘Red Tails’ — it encompassed 150 years of what it is to be black in this country.”
“You were my husband’s favorite character in the depiction,” host Nicolle Wallace told Common. “We knew so much about you, but you jumped out for him. We loved you.”
The rapper, who also appeared on AMC’s “Hell on Wheels,” took the compliment in stride: “There were a lot of people who contributed to the progress of Civil Rights Movement,” he said. “Selma is about the people creating change. Selma is about people who see human rights not being adhered to and not being accepted, so we’re going to come together with strategy, with love and with diligence and change the world.”
Wallace said she had never heard of the Kings’ marriage described as it was depicted in the film.
“Dr. King attributes his engagement with Civil Rights to his wife. She introduced him to how much of a need it was. He was on a path to be a preacher,” Oyelowo said.
“She was very much a woman of her time in the sense that she was reduced to mom and wife only. But she was so many things, she was an academic, a singer,” Ejogo said. “She’s a woman with so many dynamic characteristics, and to remain a woman in the back — she remained serene and dignified and powerful in that sense. It was such a privilege to play.”
“Selma” is currently playing in theaters.