Ava DuVernay 'Selma' Directing Follow-Up Will Be A TV Show & Her Work Is Reason Enough To Be Excited
Even if she wanted to, Ava DuVernay thankfully doesn't have time to dwell on the Oscars' snub of her electric and moving Selma. The film earned a Best Picture nomination for the 2015 Academy Awards, but both director DuVernay and star David Oyelowo — who plays Martin Luther King, Jr., were tragically overlooked for their outstanding work in telling a crucial history. But DuVernay's got so much on her plate right now, she might have to get another plate: she's already signed on to a new project, as the director of the pilot for the new CBS drama, For Justice. And even though there are very few details about the show so far, I'm already excited, because of DuVernay's attachment to the project alone.
Rene Balcer from Law & Order will produce For Justice, which, as Variety reports, is a drama that:
...centers on a female FBI agent working in the Criminal Section of the Department of Civil Rights Division who finds herself caught between her radical real family and her professional family. The project is based on James Patterson’s novel The Thomas Berryman Number.
Even though there's barely a sliver of plot detail available so far, the show seems promising. But honestly, I believe you could solicit Ava DuVernay to direct a remake of anything, and it would be somehow moving and beautiful. The Selma director has a number of projects in the pipeline, most recently announced being the show she's developing with Oprah for OWN (may these two collaborate until the end of days), based on the novel Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile.
Queen Sugar follows "a recently widowed woman who moves to Louisiana with her 11 year old daughter after inheriting an 800-acre plantation," and her journey to make a connection to her past and to her new present, as well. It's exactly the kind of project you'd expect from DuVernay; she's masterful at exploring themes of race, family, roots and the complicated history of the United States with such ease and elegance that, again, it's infuriating that she wasn't nominated for Best Director.
Her other big gun at the moment is the film she announced she was developing with David Oyelowo (again, may these two also collaborate until the end of time), a "murder mystery" set in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. Few details have been released about that project, as well, but even the subject matter provokes controversy: Hurricane Katrina was all but a disaster for the American government, and there's no doubt that DuVernay will deconstruct the sociopolitical and personal consequences of the event.
And isn't that what is so important about DuVernay? That she continues to grapple with and explore stories that are uncomfortable and raise a mangled mirror to society? For Justice seeks to follow a woman's experiences with work, family and civil rights, and that's a tall order, but not for DuVernay. The Academy might not have recognized her voice, but the rest of us have, including President Obama, who invited DuVernay to screen Selma at the White House. I hope she continues to direct and write new movies and television shows, and to make history as a woman exposing the ills of history itself. I'll be excited for For Justice and anything else she does, because I know her passion will make it great.