Last night, the first screening of the upcoming civil rights film Selma was held in Hollywood. And of course, many of the cast and the behind-the-scenes folks of the film were in attendance. See pics of Oprah, Common, Tessa Thompson, Davis Oyelowo and more inside….
A brand new movie chronicling the life of civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is coming to the silver screen real soon. And before it hits theaters, the first screening of SELMA was held during the 2014 AFI Fest at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood yesterday. It brought out many of the YBF actors/actress who star in the film and those who helped create the motion picture.
Chi-town rapper Common, who plays James Bevel, and all his sexiness hit the red carpet for the first preview of the film.
Common’s character led the monumental 1963 March on Washington and the 1965 Selma Voting Rights Movement. The epic march from Selma to Montgomery culminated in President Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most significant victories for the civil rights movement.
Dear White People star Tessa Thompson got fierce for last night’s event in a white tailored tux look. The YBF chick will star as founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Diane Nash.
Diane played a key role in bringing Dr. King to Montgomery, AL, in support of the Freedom Riders. She also played a major role in the Birmingham de-segregation campaign of 1963 and the 1965 Selma Voting Rights Campaign.
Selma director Ava DuVernay looked gorge on the red carpet. Initially, the screening was only for 30 minutes of the film but at the last minute, Ava decided to show the entire film to the audience. She received a standing ovation.
She took to Twitter and tweeted, "So, @Oprah. I think I want to show the whole film. Not just a 30 minute preview. Why wait, right? Let's DO this! Hot off the presses! Yes?” Oprah responded,“@AVAETC I always thought that was why you were working 20hr days to show the WHOLE film. Congratulations” Nice!
Actor David Oyelowo brought his wife Jessica along as his date for the first screening of the film. David was tapped to portray Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
While onstage during a Q&A session after the film, the British actor spoke about receiving the powerful role of Dr. MLK. He said,
“Very soon after my wife and I moved to this country, I was told from above that I would play this role on the 24th of July, 2007,” Oyelowo said, prompting a few audience gasps. “I couldn’t believe it, so I wrote it down.” There was a snag in God’s casting plan, though. “The director [of the project] at the time did not agree with that higher power,” the actor revealed. Seven years later, though, after DuVernay was brought on board to direct, he finally fulfilled this prophesy. “A process of my birth, my experiences, my faith, time, and these incredible people led me to this moment.”
Luckily for him, he had Oprah (whom he worked with on The Butler) in his corner, championing him for the role.
“Soul Man” actress Niecy Nash (who graces the pages of the newest Playboy magazine) worked the carpet in an all black everything look. And we’re feelin’ it.
The relationship book author was joined on the carpet by her electrical engineer husband Jay Tucker.
Niecy plays civil rights heroine Richie Jean Jackson, wife of Dr. Sullivan Jackson (played by Kent Faulcon). Richie offered her home as a safe haven for MLK and other activists during protests and demonstrations.
Singer Ledisi came out to peep the film.
Actress Lorraine Toussaint has been tapped to star as civil rights veteran Amelia Boynton Robinson.
Mike Epps, who's starring on "Survivor's Remorse", came out to support the cast.
Actor/director Robert Townsend was also in the mix, chopping it up with Ava.
Oprah, David and Ava stopped for a photo-op during the screening.
And after the showing of the film, the Selma cast and production staff took the stage for a Q& A session. Exectuive producer Oprah dished on finally deciding David was the man for the MLK role saying,
“David and I became fast friends when [we] did The Butler together,” Winfrey told the audience, “and he told me that [playing Martin Luther King Jr.] had been his dream for a very long time. He showed me a tape that [he had made of himself in character as King]. I saw that tape and I said, ‘Yeah, I can see King in you. It's not quite there, but I can see it's on it’s way there. And I want to do whatever I can do to help you get there. That's what got me to say yes.”
Afterwards, Lady O greeted eager fans and handed out autographs.
Fab times. Selma is expected to hit theaters Jan. 9th.
Photos: Getty for AFI