Ava Duvernay’s “Selma” isn’t just another historical film that repeats information we’ve already read in textbooks about Martin Luther King Jr., the Harpo production introduces us to MLK the man and the many internal struggles he faced while leading the country through the civil rights movement. Ava breathes new life into the two-dimensional icon so poignantly in “Selma,” and you will leave the theater moved.

The cast: David Oyelow (Dr. Martin Luther Kind Jr.), Carmen Ejogo (Coretta Scott King), Oprah (Annie Lee Cooper), Tim Roth (George Wallace), Tom Wilkinson (Lyndon B. Johnson) and Common gathered at the Mandarin Oriental in NYC to discuss the film, it’s cultural impact and how important it was to portray MLK as realistic as possible.

“I mean, you just have to really deconstruct all of the things that you think you know about him,” Ava Duvernay said during the conference. “And really look to the fact that this is a brother from Atlanta. Brother from Atlanta, father was a preacher, grandfather was a preacher. He didn’t want to be a preacher.”

“Selma” confronts Martin’s infidelities, his relationship with LBJ and how the people around him encouraged him to keep going.

“That’s the way we approach it as a person and their real life story, as opposed to four words and your whole life is reduce to four words, to ‘I have a dream.’ I mean, what will any of us do if we were reduced to four words? He was so much more than that. And so that was my approach is just to try to track his life and get underneath the meat of it,” she added.

In the words of Oprah, “Ava is brilliant.”

Watch what David Oyelowo, Ava Duvernay and Oprah Winfrey had to say about the career-defining role below:

Catch “Selma” in theaters January 9!

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