Media mogul Oprah Winfrey will reportedly be on hand at the Rockdale County Courthouse Friday for filming of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. movie "Selma," depicting the landmark civil rights marches of 1965.
Winfrey is portraying Annie Lee Cooper, an elderly African American woman who was beaten and thrown in jail for standing in line to register to vote at the Selma courthouse after the 1965 Voting Rights Act passed. The sheriff who put her in jail, Sheriff Jim Clark, was also involved in the earlier March 1965 "Bloody Sunday" civil rights riot. Cooper remained an active civil rights champion until her death in 2010 at the age of 100.
Martin Sheen is reportedly playing the part of federal judge Frank Johnson, whose rulings allowed the 1965 civil rights marches to take place. Brad Pitt, along with Winfrey and several others, is involved as a producer.
The courtroom of Rockdale Superior Court Judge Robert Mumford will stand in for Judge Johnson's courtroom. Judge Mumford said he is out of town this week for a training conference and was not due to hold court.
The rest of the courthouse is open for business as usual.
Several streets around the courthouse will be closed due to filming, which will start around midday and continue into the night. Court Street and a portion of Pine Street will be closed to traffic but open to residents and businesses located on those streets.
The north side lane of S. Main Street between Court Street and Milstead Avenue will be closed for truck parking.
Streets will be re-opened and trucks gone by Saturday morning.
"We appreciate everyone's patience. We'll endeavor to always act respectfully and be mindful of working to limit the impact of our activities so as to cause as minimal a disruption as possible," wrote Stephen Dirkes, the key assistant location manager for the production, in a letter to affected businesses and organizations.
On Wednesday, "Selma" filmed in the Marietta Square where onlookers could see a scene being filmed that included Oprah.
The movie also filmed scenes in the Covington Square last week.
Paramount Pictures is backing the project, which will be directed by Ava DuVernay, who was the first black woman to win a Sundance Film Festival Best Director Award for her 2012 film "Middle of Nowhere," which starred David Oyelowo, who will play King in "Selma."
Deadline Hollywood, which first reported Winfrey's involvement, said "Selma" is the second MLK Jr. project Winfrey is involved with, noting her Harpo Productions company is behind a seven-part HBO miniseries "America: In the King Years."
The movie is also casting for extras for the June 2 shoot in downtown Atlanta.
The extras casting call, sent by Cynthia Stillwell Casting on May 28, called for 1960s beatnik types, both males and females.
Hopefuls can send a photo of themselves and their look to firstname.lastname@example.org , Use the subject line "BEATNIKS".
The prefitting is on Friday, May 30.