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Ava DuVernay to direct Martin Luther King Jr. drama 'Selma'

Ava DuVernay has proved that there is little she can't do. The publicist-turned-writer-director-distributor who was just invited into the Motion Picture Academy has already directed two micro-budgeted films that have garnered her critical acclaim: 2011's "I Will Follow" and last year's "Middle of Nowhere," which landed DuVernay a best director prize at Sundance and a Spirit nomination for its young star Emayatzy Corinaldi.

Her distribution company, African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement, will release its sixth movie, Neil Drumming's drama "Big Words," on July 19.

Now DuVernay, who most recently directed the ESPN documentary "Venus Vs.," will take on the long-gestating Martin Luther King Jr. project "Selma." Deadline Hollywood first reported the news.

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Chronicling King's voting rights campaign of 1965, "Selma" first came to Hollywood's attention when Paul Webb's script landed on the 2007 Black List, the popular insider's list of Hollywood's best unproduced screenplays.

Lee Daniels, director of "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire," was first attached to direct the project, which is being produced by "127 Hours" producer Christian Colson and Brad Pitt's production company Plan B, but that collaboration fell apart in 2010.

DuVernay, reached by phone while on scouting locations for a commercial, confirmed the deal for "Selma," which will reunite her with "Middle of Nowhere" star David Oyelowo. 

She said that the producers approached her about the project in January and she spent the spring scouting the project in Alabama.

No start date for production has been set but DuVernay is excited about the movie. Said the multi-hyphenate, "I'm thrilled to be working on this beautiful project with such a supportive, committed team."

ALSO:

Ava DuVernay no longer in 'Middle of Nowhere'

L.A. Film Festival: 'Venus Vs.' filmmaker on tennis star-activist

Lee Daniels and Hugh Jackman to tackle Martin Luther King slaying

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