- Associated Press - Sunday, September 7, 2014

DOTHAN, Ala. (AP) - Enterprise actor Stan Houston has been mentioned as a long-shot contender for an Oscar for his role in the upcoming civil rights drama “Selma.”

Clayton Davis, editor of The Awards Circuit, put Houston at No. 26 on his list of 40 actors likely to win the Best Supporting Actor award. Houston, 45, plays Sheriff Jim Clark, the primary antagonist in “Selma,” a film about the civil rights movement in Alabama.

“It’s humbling to be considered and to be on a list of names like Robert Duvall and Dustin Hoffman,” he said.

Houston said he was initially resistant to playing Clark, as Clark had ties to this area and Houston felt his portrayal of Clark, who violently opposed integration, would upset neighbors. After some prodding by his agent, Joy Pervis, Houston auditioned for the role and won it.

Houston, a Blakely, Ga. native, said he decided to play Clark, who in 2006 said he had no regrets about his stand against the civil rights movement, as history has presented him.

“History doesn’t portray him as a kind man,” he said. “To his friends and family he may have been the nicest guy, but you can’t treat people like that.”

Houston said shooting some of the more intense scenes in the film, which involved beating protesters and using racial epithets, were emotionally taxing. Houston said the cast of the film became close-knit and often broke up some of the more intense parts of the film with levity.

“There was a point where we gathered in a circle and prayed,” he said. “They prayed for me, to give me strength. I lost it and cried like a baby.”

During the filming, Houston got to meet some veterans of the Civil Rights Movement, such as C.T. Vivian. Houston said meeting and talking with people who lived through that era helped strengthen his commitment to the film.

“I just made up my mind that it needed to be done so we don’t forget what they did for us,” he said.

“Selma” has a strong cast with Oprah Winfrey, Martin Sheen, Tim Roth, David Oyelowo and a number of other top-shelf actors. Houston said he was honored to act in such company. He said he feels “Selma” is an important movie and relevant to current events in the nation.

“People need to remember where we were, how far we’ve come and that we still have a long way to go in every community,” he said.


Information from: The Dothan Eagle, https://www.dothaneagle.com

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