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De Niro to play George Wallace in Lee Daniels's Selma?

01.26.2010
In a Deadline Hollywood article about actor Robert De Niro's move from one talent agency to another (from William Morris Endeavor back to his old digs at Creative Artists Agency) are a couple of quick tidbits regarding projects the thespian is tied to that we've yet to hear about.

The first and most probable project is SELMA, the next proposed film by PRECIOUS helmer Lee Daniels. SELMA, as in the city of Selma, Alabama where segregation was at its worst in the 1960s, focuses on the time of the civil rights movement and Lyndon B. Johnson's place in it. Lee Daniels spoke to ComingSoon's Ed Douglas this past October and described the film thusly:

"It's a moment in time in Martin Luther King and LBJ's [life] around the signing of the Civil Rights. It's a snapshot of the march. It's really Lyndon Johnson's story. Martin Luther King is a part of it, but it's really the arc of a man that starts out as a racist who is forced to look at himself in the mirror and then ultimately side with King. It's really a journey of a white cat and how he sneers at tradition and against George Wallace, against everybody, says, 'Uh-uh.'"

De Niro would play George Wallace, the 45th governor of Alabama, who said the following during his gubernatorial inauguration: "In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever."

The second project briefly mentioned in the Deadline Hollywood article is a sequel to one of De Niro's great 80s comedies, MIDNIGHT RUN. The only thing said about that, however, is that it's in "mid-development". Should more come down the pike, we'll be sure to let you know.
Extra Tidbit: William Morris Endeavor is home to Hollywood super agent Ari Emanuel, brother of current White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and inspiration for Jeremy Piven's character Ari Gold on HBO's "Entourage". De Niro is said to have been repped by Emanuel for a time during his stint at WME.

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