Oprah Winfrey Movies Update: As Annie Cooper, A Civil Rights Heroine In 'Selma'
By Tanya Diente | June 13, 2014 5:30 PM EST
Oscar-nominated Oprah Winfrey has joined the cast of "Selma," where she will be playing as civil rights heroine, Annie Cooper.
Oprah Winfrey (R) laughs with poet Maya Angelou during the taping of "Oprah's Surprise Spectacular" in Chicago in this May 17, 2011 file photo. U.S. author and poet Maya Angelou has died at age 86 in North Carolina, local media reported on May 28, 2014, citing her agent and a local official.
It's only been less than a year and Winfrey is now returning to the big screen. After appearing in Lee Daniel's presidential period film, "The Butler," the host-actress is now back in another period drama in "Selma."
'Selma" follows the 1965 voting rights campaign of Martin King Luther Jr., which is regarded as the peak of civil rights movement. Winfrey portrays the role of Annie Cooper, a civil rights heroine, who is best known for punching Dallas Country Sheriff Clark, when he tried to prevent her from registering to vote in 1965.
According to Vanity Fair, the punching incident resulted in Annie Cooper's assault by police and further national exposure of the violence surrounding voter-registration attempts in 1965. Annie Cooper passed away four years ago at age 100.
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight (video, Winfrey said she talked to her friend, the late Dr. Maya Angelou, about her role as Annie Cooper in "Selma."
She reportedly spoke with Angelou for an hour before she left to film "Selma" in Georgia before she passed away. Winfrey shared Angelou had given her the stamp of approval for her Annie Cooper's role. She was so proud that I was doing this movie, saying, 'Take it baby. Take it all the way. Take it all the way,'" Oprah recalled.
Winfrey said Maya was part of the civil rights movement. She also worked with Martin Luther King Jr. so she understood what Winfrey and the production team of "Selma" were trying to do with the movie.
"Selma" was supposed to be directed by "The Butler" Director Lee Daniels. But Ava DuVernay, director of "Middle of Nowhere," currently helms the film.
Along with Winfrey is David Oyelowo, who will portray the late Martin Luther King Jr., Carmen Ejogo as Coretta Scott King, Tom Wilkinson as President Lyndon B. Johnson and Tim Roth as George Wallace.
Aside from starring as Annie Cooper, Winfrey will also be co-producing "Selma," along with Brad Pitt's Plan B Production Company.
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