"Precious" director hires Brit to play MLK

Director Lee Daniels poses for a portrait in New York February 2, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Segar

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Lee Daniels is firming up the cast of “Selma,” his civil-rights follow-up to “Precious,” even as its funding is on shaky ground.

David Oyelowo, the British actor who appeared in “A Raisin in the Sun” and stars in George Lucas’ “Red Tails,” will play the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Hugh Jackman is on board as a racist sheriff in the tale revolving around the historic marches staged by King in 1965 in Selma, Ala. The part of Alabama Gov. George Wallace remains up for grabs.

British producer Pathe International was on board to finance but might be scaling back its involvement, the extent of which was not immediately clear. It is known that the project is being shopped around in the hope of raising funds.

Financial straits aren’t new for Daniels, who faced similar hurdles when making “Precious.” It was financed by a wealthy Colorado couple, and won two Oscars earlier this month.

Oyelowo also appeared in “The Last King of Scotland” and HBO’s “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency.”