David Oyelowo is a multiple Golden Globe and Emmy-nominated actor and producer who has quickly become one of Hollywood’s most sought-after talents.
He gained international acclaim in 2014 starring as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Ava DuVernay’s “Selma.”
Most recently, he starred opposite Lupita Nyong’o in ”Queen of Katwe.” His additional film credits include “Interstellar,” “A Most Violent Year,” “The Butler,” “Red Tails,” “The Help” and “The Last King of Scotland.”
Oyelowo, who was born in Oxford, England, is a classically-trained actor. He received his start on stage in 1999 with Britain’s Royal Shakespeare Company.
Here, he talks about his latest outing opposite Rosamund Pike in the true story of an African king who falls for a British commoner in “A United Kingdom.”
Kam Williams: What interested you in “A United Kingdom?”
David Oyelowo: The fact that it was a story I felt I should know, but I didn’t know. And as I dug deeper, I appreciated that the enduring love Seretse [Khama] and Ruth [Williams] had for each other was a wonderful story. One of the amazing things about this experience for me has been the Google trail. There’s so much to learn about them and African history.
KW: Unlike some actors, you have managed to avoid being typecast. What is your secret?
DO: Becoming typecast is something that can happen very easily, if you are not paying attention. Look, the fact of the matter is that Seretse and Dr. Martin Luther King [in “Selma”] makes it twice in a row now that I’ve played historical, political figures. I’ve got to be mindful of that going forward, despite how much I admire both of these men. You’ve got change it up to have a long career. I won’t be playing that sort of role in the near future.
KW: How was it working opposite Rosamund Pike? How do you explain the great chemistry the two of you generated on screen?
DO: I had been working on the film for a long time, and it was important to find an actress who shared my passion for the project. When I sent Rosamund pictures of Seretse and Ruth, she had such an emotional and visceral reaction to them, it really gave me a lot of confidence that we would be bringing everything we could to the work. And I think that passion for the project led to the chemistry you see onscreen.
KW: This year, the Academy nominated seven actors of color for Oscars after not nominating any the previous two years. But that must be little consolation to you, since your terrific performance in “Selma” was snubbed.
DO: Well, thank you, but films are for life. Even with what happened with “Selma,” everywhere I go, people have seen that film. And at the end of the day, that’s why you do it. With the passage of time, no one really remembers who was nominated or who won; it’s the film that has to stand on its own two legs. I’m very proud to say that I feel we achieved that with “Selma.”
KW: What’s the biggest difference between who you are at home as opposed to the person we see on the red carpet?
DO: I’m a lot sillier at home. I have four kids and a very rowdy house.
KW: I see you have an untitled project with director Nash Edgerton coming up.
DO: Yeah, that’s an action-comedy, which is a very different speed for me. I really loved doing that film…Action is something I love to watch, and I’ve had fun whenever it’s come my way.”