By Tia Lynn Lecorchick staff writer
The upcoming motion picture, Selma, a civil rights drama to be released next year, filmed scenes in Rutledge this week on June 9-10 at the Rutledge Baptist Church and old jailhouse. “It’s like we are making history all over again,” said Brenda Thompson, a Rutledge city council member. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to be part of this history. It is going to be a very educational film that will give people a whole new perspective about what really happened back in those days; what a fight it was.” The biopic, set in the 1960s, is about the life of Martin Luther King Jr. and the three infamous civil rights marches from Selma, Alabama to the state capitol in Montgomery, that were gruesomely thwarted by police and white rioters.
On May 19, the Rutledge City Council unanimously voted to approve the usage of the Rutledge Baptist Church, the city park, and outside of the old jail house for filming scheduled for June 9. “They are filming the scene in which Dr. King gives the speech in 1965 leading up to the march from Selma to Montgomery,” said Thompson. “It’s a big moment.” The movie will star David Oyelowo, as Martin Luther King Jr., Carmen Ejogo, as Coretta Scott King.
Other actors rumored to be in the film are Robert De Niro, Hugh Jackman, Tom Wilkinson, and Lenny Kravitz. The film also features Brad Pitt and Oprah Winfrey as producers. “Brad Pitt and Oprah are producers, but we haven’t seen them around here,” said Thompson. “We did get to meet the actor who is playing Dr. King, and it is amazing how much he looks like Dr. King. It’s unreal.” Thompson noted that the amount the city will be compensated for allowing Selma Productions, Inc. to film in the city is still to be determined.
But the film studio is compensating both the city and local businesses who may be inconvenienced by road closures during the days of filming. Thompson estimated that in addition to the actors and film crew, about 150 extras gathered in Rutledge for the filming. Thompson is proud to have the city involved in the making of this film. “Everyone should go see this movie!” said Thompson. “It is really something special.”