MLK Drama 'Selma' Casting Its President Johnson

Tom Wilkinson
Tom Wilkinson
 AP Images

Tom Wilkinson is the choice to play President Lyndon B. Johnson in Selma, the drama about the historic civil rights marches that has Oprah Winfrey and Brad Pitt among its producers.

David Oyelowo is portraying Martin Luther King Jr. in the movie, which Ava DuVernay will direct.

Selma details the three attempts of black marchers to walk from Selma to Montgomery, the capital of Alabama, in 1965 in order to gain voting rights. The first two times they were beaten back by police, and by the third time it had become a national crusade.

Wilkinson has the offer, but it is unclear at what point things stand in the negotiating process. Sources caution that it is early in the dealmaking process.

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The marches had a profound impact on LBJ, who introduced the Voting Rights Act, prohibiting discrimination when voting on federal, state and local levels.

In addition to Winfrey and her Harpo banner, Pitt's Plan B cohorts Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner are producing Selma, along with Christian Coulson.

Pathe is financing the film, and the company's Cameron McCracken also is producing.

Wilkinson currently is appearing in Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel, which is proving to be a hit ticket on the indie circuit. He recently completed Good People, an indie crime thriller starring James Franco and Kate Hudson.

Wilkinson is repped by Larry Taube at Principal Entertainment and Lou Coulson Associates in the U.K.

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