Lee Daniels Confirms Hugh Jackman For ‘Selma’ Role

With the Academy Awards coming this Sunday, the whole of the entertainment reporting world is crowding around the various nominees to get them talking about… well… everything. The voting may be closed, but these celebrities still have yet to be judged in the court of public opinion. And before they parade out in front of the cameras on Sunday evening, they’ve got to make all sorts of press rounds.

One of the key people to chat with this week is Lee Daniels, whose sophomore directing effort “Precious” is up for six awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. There have already been some rumblings about Daniels’ next project, “Selma.” He even told MTV a few weeks ago that he’s got something brewing with Robert De Niro, which may or may not be the civil rights-era flick. Now we’ve got our first official casting confirmation for the “Precious” follow-up, and it’s not the former Goodfella.

Speaking to USA Today, Daniels confirmed that “X-Men Origins:Wolverine” star Hugh Jackman will be appearing in some capacity in the coming film, which he hopes to start shooting in May. “I have to really start casting the movie because we’re shooting it soon,” he said, going on to reveal Jackman as the only confirmed cast member so far.

“”I had to do a lot of homework on the [’Selma’] script, and I spent a lot of time writing. I feel like I’m caught up a little bit with that,” he said. Not so caught up that he hasn’t found time for other work though. It was revealed only yesterday in Variety that Daniels is working on a pilot for HBO with author Amy Bloom. If it goes beyond a pilot — which is probable, given the pedigree of the two collaborators — the series will follow “a multigenerational, multiracial family in Philadelphia.”

HBO has had success painting cities in real shades, with David Simon and Ed Burns’ “The Wire.” Could a Daniels/Bloom-conceived series achieve the same level of greatness? I imagine that’s what HBO execs are hoping for.

For now, it looks like Daniels’ primary focus is on “Selma.” We’ll surely learn more in the weeks that follow the Oscars, so stay tuned to MTV for all the latest! And make sure to tune in this Sunday for MTV’s live Oscars coverage! The festivities kick off at 6pm with a live streaming red carpet show and a fashion-focused live blog on Hollywood Crush. Then head over here at 8pm when the awards show begins to follow our running commentary in MTV’s Academy Awards live blog.