The harrowing scene in “Selma” in which civil rights activists march on the Edmund Pettus Bridge despite a violent attack from police is one Ava DuVernay took great pleasure in filming.
On CBS’s “60 Minutes,” the Golden Globe-nominated director discussed the bridge’s namesake; Pettus was a Confederate general and Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan in Alabama. His name remains on the structure today.
“I took great pleasure in directing scenes on this bridge,” DuVernay said. “I imagined [Pettus] turning over in his grave a little bit thinking, ‘Where did it all go wrong? This was not supposed to happen!'”
The film focuses on King’s march alongside thousands of supporters as they peacefully protested to win voting rights for blacks in Alabama.
“Hundreds of black citizens running, being beaten, being bludgeoned because they were on a quest for their own freedom and dignity,” DuVernay said.
This awards season, “Selma” earned praise from critics and marked DuVernay as the first African-American female to earn a Golden Globe nomination for directing. “Glory” singers John Legend and Common took home the award for Best Original Song at the awards show.
“Selma” is currently nominated for two Oscars, Best Picture and Best Original Song. Some have criticized what they believe is a low nomination count, noting that Oyelowo wasn’t a contender for Best Actor nor DuVernay for directing, as TheWrap previously reported.