Recently, Ava DuVernay opened up about the 2014 writing credit controversy on the film Selma.
The film, which was a hit at that year’s Academy Awards, was credited to Paul Webb. However, while Webb certainly wrote the original screenplay, DuVernay and others said that she had substantially reshaped the script as the director. However, since Webb’s contract allowed him to retain sole writing credit if he chose, DuVernay didn’t get the credit for her work.
In speaking to New Yorker writer Jelani Cobb, DuVerney recalled how she downplayed the writing debate during the Awards season.
“At the time, decisions were made that I was a part of to not talk about that, not to create controversy around the film, for Oscars,” she said. “People don’t want to vote for something that feels, mm, something’s wrong with that film.”
But now, she regrets not fighting harder for her credit.
“It’s the only time in the industry I feel I really betrayed myself. Because I wrote that script, and my name was not on it. The credit was taken from me,” she said.
I learned my lesson,” DuVernay said. “I’ll never do it again.”
“Sometimes we have to be collaborative, but when you know in your gut it’s wrong, just don’t do it.”