Oscar-nominated actress Oprah Winfrey has joined the cast of Ava DuVernay’s “Selma,” the civil rights drama that the media mogul is also producing.
The drama follows MLK’s landmark 1965 voting rights campaign, which is regarded as the peak of the civil rights movement.
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The film stars David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr.; Carmen Ejogo as Coretta Scott King; Tom Wilkinson as Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson; Tim Roth as George Wallace; Cuba Gooding Jr. as Fred Gray; Common as James Bevel; Wendell Pierce as Rev. Hosea Williams; Stephan James as John Lewis; Nigel Thatch as Malcolm X; Stan Houston as Sheriff Jim Clark; and Keith Stanfield as Jimmie Lee Jackson, as TheWrap first reported.
Winfrey will play Annie Lee Cooper, an elderly woman who tried to register to vote and was unfairly denied by Sheriff Clark. She was a visible leader amongst the civil rights protesters in Selma.
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Winfrey actually appeared in character during an on-camera interview with Entertainment Tonight. She was filming “Selma” in Georgia when her close friend Maya Angelou passed away, though not before giving the project her blessing.
“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,'” Oprah told Entertainment Tonight. “She was a part of the movement, worked with Martin Luther King, understood what we were trying to do with this film.”
Winfrey earned an Oscar nomination for her performance in Steven Spielberg‘s “The Color Purple.” She most recently played Oyelowo’s mother in “Lee Daniels’ The Butler.” In addition to “Selma,” Winfrey is a producer on DreamWorks’ “The Hundred-Foot Journey,” which hits theaters in August. She’s represented by WME.