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‘Selma’ director Ava DuVernay on writing new speeches for MLK

The movie, “Selma,” is getting plenty of attention for its portrayal of history, the relationship between Martin Luther King and President Lyndon Johnson — and the way it showcases Dr. King’s skills and choices as a political tactician and activist. What’s less well-known is the extent to which director Ava DuVernay rewrote much of the script — and that includes writing her own versions of Dr. King’s speeches.

As she explained to Gwen Ifill in our interview, DuVernay was not given permission to use the speeches through King’s estate. They instead are connected with an upcoming film project by Steven Spielberg. Gwen asked DuVernay about the unique challenges of trying to capture the essence of iconic speeches without copying them.

Watch Gwen’s full conversation with Ava DuVernay on tonight’s broadcast of the PBS NewsHour. Tune in on our Ustream channel at 6 p.m. EST or check your local listings.