Hugh Jackman has landed a new role that will be a far departure from his stint as Wolverine in the X-Men series. The Australian actor has been cast as the lead in the next film from Precious director, Lee Daniels. According to USA Today, the pair will team up for Selma, a civil rights drama that he hopes to start filming soon.

Even though Daniels is nominated for Best Director at this Sunday’s Academy Awards, he’s more interested in his next project than his Oscar tux. He says that he’s been working on a finalized version of the script for Selma, doing research, and constantly writing. In the USA Today article he admits that he needs to speed up the casting process, because the only actor he’s nailed down is Jackman. Even though the director declares that the project is “all over the place” he feels like he’s finally “caught up a little bit.”

For those of you who aren’t familiar, prior to and during the Civil Rights Movement, Selma, Alabama was a hot bed for racial tension. It was so out of control that a march took place in protest of segregation that ended in violence ultimately forcing then President Lyndon B. Johnson to sign the Civil Rights Act.

It will be interesting to see Jackman in an southern American setting, but who will he play? Will he be a hardcore racist, or one of the good guys trying to make a difference? Either way, this sounds like a good stretch that will show his acting range.

What do you think of Hugh Jackman taking on a role in Selma? Do you think he can pull off a period piece of this nature?