After delving into the civil rights movement in “Selma,” filmmaker Ava DuVernay and star David Oyelowo are looking to reunite for a drama set against the backdrop of Hurricane Katrina.
DuVernay is on board to write, direct and produce a story of love and murder that takes place during the historic 2005 storm, Participant Media announced Monday, and Oyelowo is in negotiations to star and produce.
DuVernay and Oyelowo previously teamed with Participant on the 2012 drama “Middle of Nowhere.”
Plot details for the new film were not revealed, but DuVernay has shown an interest in tackling issues of race, class and inequality in her work before, and the Katrina disaster would give her plenty of material to work with.
As President George W. Bush acknowledged in the aftermath of the storm, “The greatest hardship fell upon citizens already facing lives of struggle: the elderly, the vulnerable and the poor. And this poverty has roots in generations of segregation and discrimination that closed many doors of opportunity.”
DuVernay’s propensity for exploring social issues has engendered praise and controversy, particularly in the weeks since “Selma” hit theaters. The Martin Luther King Jr. drama has earned widespread critical acclaim, with many reviewers and moviegoers responding to the film’s resonance with current events, most notably in Ferguson, Mo.
But the movie has also come under fire for its portrayal of President Lyndon B. Johnson, with some scholars and former aides saying the film underrepresents his pivotal support of civil rights.
DuVernay and Oyelowo have found themselves at the center of a debate about the underrepresentation of people of color in Hollywood as well. When Oscar nominations were announced this month, neither DuVernay nor Oyelowo earned nods, although “Selma” was named a contender for best picture.
DuVernay has downplayed the controversy, telling a Sundance Film Festival crowd over the weekend, “We were not snubbed. We were nominated in some categories and not in others.”
In a statement about the Hurricane Katrina film, DuVernay said, “The story we’re interested in will explore the complexities of intimate relationships within times of chaos, while also examining the chaos itself. I’m looking forward to the journey.”
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