I wasn’t exactly thrilled with the news of Common’s casting as James Bevel, the civil rights activist who helped set up 1963’s “children’s crusade” in Birmingham, Alabama, in Ava DuVernay’s “Selma.” I love the man’s music, but, as I feel about musicians who attempt acting without the necessary training, and thus often aren’t as convincing and credible as they need to be, there’s always a lesser-known “ACTOR” with the skills to make a role truly memorable, no matter how small, who gets overlooked, if only because they lack the celebrity appeal and reach that a popular rapper might. Although, quite frankly, they often could certainly use the work and the paycheck, more-so than who was cast in the role. And, thankfully, Common wasn’t on screen very much, so I wasn’t as distracted as I could’ve been otherwise, while watching the film.
An actor in “Selma” I would’ve loved to see a lot more of, was Henry G. Sanders (from Charles Burnett’s “Killer of Sheep”) who was absolutely credible and captivating in his very few moments on screen (see the below deleted scene for a sample), as Cager Lee – grandfather to Jimmie Lee Jackson (Keith Stanfield), a civil rights protester who was shot and killed by Alabama State Troopers in 1965, during a march that was violently broken up by law enforcement – a moment that helped inspire the Selma to Montgomery marches.
Both Common’s Bevel and Sanders’ Lee – along with star David Oyelowo’s MLK – feature in the below deleted scene from “Selma” (courtesy of USA Today), which is out on digital HD today, April 21, 2015. The film debuts on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and On Demand on May 5, 2015, via Paramount Home Media Distribution.