‘Selma’ Director Ava DuVernay Developing Series for OWN
It’s been a little disappointing to watch the reception of Ava DuVernay’s ‘Selma’ so far. The outstanding biopic about Martin Luther King has done reasonably well in theaters ($43 million domestically and counting), but it’s been mired in controversy over its depiction of President Lyndon B. Johnson and wound up receiving just two Academy Award nominations (Best Picture and Original Song), leaving DuVernay’s powerful direction and David Oyelowo’s terrific lead performance unfortunately overlooked. I thought ‘Selma’ was one of the best and most powerful films of the year. It deserves better.
At least there’s this; Oscar nominated or not, DuVernay has already gotten another high-profile project underway. Variety reports that she’s now writing, directing, and producing her first television series for Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network. Winfrey, who co-produced and co-starred in ‘Selma,’ will co-produce and co-star on the new show, which is based on Natalie Baszile’s novel ‘Queen Sugar.’ According to a press release, the show follows ...
a spirited woman who leaves her upscale Los Angeles lifestyle behind to claim an inheritance from her recently departed father—an 800-acre sugar cane farm in the heart of Louisiana. Her world and identity are turned upside down as she and her teenage daughter attempt to navigate a new and very different environment while rebuilding their farm from scratch. She is met with curiosity and community, with resistance and romance. It isn’t long before a transformation begins and she realizes that she’s been living a lot farther from her Southern roots than mere miles.
Variety quotes DuVernay saying that she was particularly interested in exploring “the idea of a modern woman wrestling with identity, family, culture and the echoes of history.” Sounds good to me. I just hope no one complains that Lyndon Johnson is misrepresented by this series by not being in it. ‘Queen Sugar’ is scheduled to go into production later this year.