Fort Wayne native involved in sets for Winfrey’s Selma film

Actors, from left, David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo and Tim Roth pose with producer Oprah Winfrey and director Ava DuVernay at the premiere of "Selma" at the Ziegfeld Theatre on Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) — A Fort Wayne native is making the march to Selma.

Justin Jordan serves as a graphics production assistant in the new Oprah Winfrey film, “Selma,” which opened nationwide Friday. Jordan’s job involved making sure the sets in the movie depicting the South were authentic.

The movie pays homage to the 1965 March in which a group of demonstrators faced violence in attempting a 50-mile trek from Selma, Alabama, to Montgomery to demand the right to vote for blacks.

“It’s been amazing,” the 34-year-old South Side High School alum, who currently lives with his family in Atlanta, told The Journal Gazette. “I’m working with people I admire and follow. To be a part of something like this is a blessing.”

Jordan didn’t feel like that about two years ago. Just before Christmas, he was laid off from an advertising and marketing position in Atlanta, a career that spanned a decade.

“I didn’t know what I was going to do,” said Jordan, father of two girls, 4 and 2. “It did give me the courage to do something that I had been wanting to do.”

Jordan, a graduate of DePauw University, had volunteer experience with Shauna Williams, a film production designer, whose résumé includes working with Tyler Perry.

“Six months later, I get a call from her telling me that she wasn’t going to be able to do a project and if I wanted it,” Jordan said. “The project turned out to be ‘Selma.'”

Encouraged and inspired by the film, Jordan coaxed his wife, Charity, an Atlanta native, into auditioning for the movie. The aspiring actress, one-time stay-at-home mom and part-time family counselor wound up landing the role of Viola Lee Jackson.

“She shared dressing rooms, makeup artists and hair stylists with Oprah. It was crazy,” Jordan said, adding that his wife’s role may not be a central one but is no less important.

Jordan added that Winfrey has become like family.

“As soon as you meet her, it’s like you’ve known her all your life,” he said. “She’s like, ‘Hi, baby. How you doing?’ She’s like my auntie.”

Jordan and his family planned to attend a church group viewing of the movie Friday. Some 1,000 people are expected.

“Pastor Carlton Lynch spearheaded the whole thing,” said Denise Jordan, Justin’s mom and publicist. “We’re looking forward to it.”

Jordan is looking forward to the movie’s message. He said there is a bit of irony that the 50th anniversary of the march comes at a time when racial tensions in America are once again a topic.

“Black lives matter,” Jordan said, referencing publicized shootings of unarmed African-American males. “We have come so far, but have so far to go.”

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Information from: The Journal Gazette, http://www.journalgazette.net

 

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