Two Troy students got the opportunity to work as extras on the set of the movie “Selma,” a theatrical depiction of the civil rights movement for equal voting rights focusing on a march led by Martin Luther King Jr. from Selma to Montgomery.
Brittany DuBose, a junior broadcast journalism major from Troy, said that she found out about the need for extras while watching WSFA-TV news.
“I’ve always wanted to do something like this,” DuBose said.
DuBose said she was an avid actor in many school plays during high school. So the opportunity only seemed right. She also said she was intrigued by what the movie stood for.
“It talks about the right to vote,” DuBose said. “We take the right to vote for granted. People fought and lost their lives to be able to vote. If people see this movie and still don’t see the point in voting, then you are crazy.”
Dan Ensey, a junior social science major from Troy, saw an advertisement on Facebook about the opportunity and said he feels the same about what “Selma” represents.
“The movie is very timely,” Ensey said. “Seeing what people had to do just to get the right to vote is just amazing. These people got beat up, pushed around, and some even got killed just for the right to vote.”
DuBose said that her major scene was set on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, the location of the event known as Bloody Sunday in 1965 when civil rights marchers were violently blocked en route and assailed by law enforcement officers during the first of three marches.
“That scene was intense,” DuBose said. “Our director, Ava DuVernay, pushed us to get the scene right. It was a lot of pressure built up, and she was saying we only had one chance.”
Bloody Sunday occurred in the early morning, just as the sun began to rise. DuBose said that DuVernay really wanted to capture the moment as accurately as possible.
With this scene, DuBose said she understood the strength of those people who lost their lives.
“To watch friends being pushed off the bridge and have the strength to go back the next day … you have to be a strong person,” she said.
When asked to draw parallels between “Selma” and other cinema centered on the civil rights, DuBose could not and said, “I feel like every civil rights movie has its own story to tell.”
Ensey said that he was a posse member in the movie.
“Sheriff Jim Clark went out and got the meanest dudes to come to Selma and bust some heads,” he said. “That’s who I was playing. “
Ensey said his major scene encompassed Turn Around Tuesday, the second of the Selma to Montgomery marches. He said that for his specific part, it was a “hurry up and wait” type of mentality.
“We did that (scene) 100 times,” Ensey said, “and it’s only about 20 seconds in the movie.”
Both DuBose and Ensey said that they have seen the movie two times so far. DuBose said that the second time she watched the film, she did it with other cast members.
“There are a lot of powerful scenes in the movie,” Ensey said. “The last speech where (Martin Luther King Jr.) is speaking on the steps of the state Capitol gave me chills.”
DuBose described herself as a “cry baby,” and said that watching the movie was emotional for her.
Ensey said after he finished his scenes, DuVernay showed her appreciation for those involved in filming.
“Miss DuVernay came down after finishing shooting on the other side of the bridge and shook all of our hands,” Ensey said. “She thanked us for putting our faces on this dark moment in history.”
“Selma” was released on Jan. 9 and is now showing at Continental Cinema 5 in Troy.