David Oyelowo is a remarkably talented actor who has appeared in numerous films and starred in a number of TV shows, including a British drama called Spooks and lent his voice talents to Agent Kallus in Star Wars Rebels. He has starred alongside talented peers including Lupita Nyong’o, Emma Stone, Oscar Isaac, Oprah Winfrey, Jessica Chastain and Daniel Day-Lewis, just to name a few. In 2014, he took on the daunting task of portraying Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Ava DuVernay‘s Selma, a role that earned him critical acclaim for his phenomenal performance as the real-life Civil Rights leader.
Looking to promote his new film, A United Kingdom, Oyelowo took to the r/Movies subreddit to do an Ask Me Anything. Here are just a few of his answers that give some brilliant insight into the mind of this talent. Let me preface this by saying that before he finished the AMA, Oyelowo stated that “[the questions] were better than some of the questions [he gets] from most journalists.”
Now that is what I call a compliment.
1. Oyelowo Introduces ‘The Three Ps’ When Deciding Which Roles To Take
Oyelowo is no stranger when it comes to portraying roles that require immense knowledge or are incredibly intimidating. When deciding which of these projects to tackle, he has a rule he refers to as “The Three Ps.”
- The Part.
- The Project.
- The People.
According to Oyelowo:
“If the part is interesting to me, regardless of it’s size, then that gets my attention. If the project feels meaningful, entertaining, you know, all those things you want a film to be, that, of course, get’s my attention.”
The most important aspect to this rule is the people. Oyelowo mentions that he is “on a quest to become the best actor [he] can be.” He truly believes the way to achieve that “is to surround yourself with people that are better than you.”
2. Kathryn Bigelow Is His Dream Director Collaboration
Oyelowo, like all of us, loves everything Kathryn Bigelow touches. He refers to her 2012 war drama, Zero Dark Thirty as being just as amazing as her Academy Award winning film The Hurt Locker. He mentions loving the scope and scale of her films while also complimenting the intimacy “she manages to breath into those big feeling movies.”
3. Christopher Nolan’s Attention To Detail Is Like No Other
Oyelowo starred alongside Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway in Christopher Nolan‘s 2014 hit, Interstellar. When asked how it was to star in a film directed by “one of the best working directors today” (his words), Oyelowo reveals what he witnessed on set that works to solidify that incredible honor. Nolan apparently had a phenomenal grasp of “everything that was going on that set.” Besides knowing the script “back to front” and having an “absolute command of the shots,”
“[You] could just tell that this entire film already existed in his brain and that was an amazing thing to be around.”
4. What’s The Deal With His Love For Historical Figures?
I never realized just how many historically-based films Oyelowo starred in until u/Trinout pointed it out in their question: “I’d like to ask you about your tendency to play true stories on film, from Last King of Scotland, to Lincoln, to Selma and now United Kingdom.” Oyelowo reveals that he does not necessarily “go looking” for those types of roles, but “those have tended to be the most interesting projects and characters that have come my way thus far.” He acknowledges how incredibly challenging they may be because:
“[When] you’re dealing with historical figures, they always have the fact that people have very real expectations, opinions, and they want to see their heroes or people they deem to be villains to be portrayed in a very specific way.”
With all this in mind and having to “still do your interpretation of it,” he reveals that although it is intimidating, “that’s the job.” And we love him for it!
5. So You Mean To Tell Me ‘Oyelowo’ Isn’t Irish?
He may be a phenomenal actor but at first glance that last name of his is rather difficult to pronounce off the fly. Oyelowo reveals that during a phone conversation, the person he was talking to apparently made the assumption that his last name was of Irish descent:
“The most entertaining and unexpected pronunciation was not actually a pronunciation, it was an assumption. It was the assumption that Oyelowo was an Irish name. It was over the phone and they thought it was O’yelowo. I am definitely not Irish.”
6. Oyelowo’s Kids Love The Fact That He Is Part Of The Star Wars Universe
Apparently kids love when their father stars in anything remotely related to the galaxy far, far, away — somehow even more than if they portray Dr. King or Seretse Khama! I have no idea why, but according to Oyelowo, he earned some major brownie points for voicing Agent Kallus, the officer of the Imperial Security Bureau in the hit series Rebels.
Whether or not he will appear in a live-action iteration of his character, “it may be tricky” seeing as how:
“Agent Kallus is a white dude with red hair and giant mutton chops, so I like to think I’m a good actor, but that may be a stretch. But you never know, I could have afro mutton chops.”
You know, with a little CGI and mutton growing, I could see it happening!