David Oyelowo Fights for Representation in Family Films – International

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Actor’s journey David Oyelowo It even took 20 years in the director’s chair and he had a basic conversation with his elder son. The year was 2015 and Oyelovo was preparing to act in a family film Katve ki rani. Four of his children had already come to meet him on the sets of the film Selma, In which there seemed nothing that his father could not do. After all, it was Oyelovo who shaved a line in his hair and stood behind the pulpit, channeling Martin luther king jr.

Now, Oyelovo was turning his attention to a film Disney, Katwe, And was excited to inform his son that his father had finally arrived at the factory of childhood dreams. “I told him and the first question he asked me was, ‘Wow, dad, that’s great. Are you going to play the role of best friend?”, Recalled the actor.

Oyelowo Was surprised. The 14-year-old had already calculated and felt that if his father, a black British son of Nigerians, played a role in a Disney film, he certainly could not be at the center of the narrative, even if his It was nearby just painted the king. although black Panther The equation may change while behaving Black representation On screen, the fact that Oyelowo played the lead role in an Disney film with an all-black cast made no sense to the boy.

And he was. Oyelowo had already spent most of the two decades building a career that attracted the attention of distinguished directors such as Anthony Mingella, Christopher Nolana I Ava Duvarnay, Playing roles that rose up Stereotypes Lazy people are often present in present films Hollywood. All this was done intentionally. As his wife, Jessica Oyelowo, explained: “He denied many of the roles, which are, in some way, portrayed negatively. The blacks. And not because blacks do not do bad things or they have not done bad things for themselves. But because you chose to look forward “.

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Now, however, being part of projects that accurately represent Oyelowo’s reality was no longer enough. From that conversation, he would take the social capital he had acquired Hollywood And he would invest it in his own production company, the Yoruba Saxon, which he formed with Jessica, which would allow him to control the narrative and tell the stories that show Complications of non-white people.

Oyelovo commented, “I’m not just going to look for things that show my level of representation of the world. Now I have to fight for them.” It was his way of playing his role to ensure that no one else Black baby If he feels that he has been removed Supporting paper Again. “I think my job is to normalize my existence,” he said bluntly.

In the last six years, the pair has made low budget films. A united kingdom, In which Oyelowo played the role of Seretse Khama, the heir to the throne of Botswana, who caused an international scandal by falling in love with and marrying a white English woman in 1940, and Nightingale, The HBO film that won Oyelowo, the sole actor of the project, a Golden Globe And a hint to Amy.

Subsequently, the duo shifted their focus from Blumhouse’s small budget film to the attention-grabbing films of children, Running against time, In which he plays opposite Storm Reid (A turn in time), Until last year’s film Alice & Peter: Where Dreams Are Born, A mix of fairy tales Alice in Wonderland I Peter Pan, In which they worked together Angelina Jolie. Nor were they big hits – Alice & Peter: Where Dreams Are Born It faced particularly bad reviews and the onset of an epidemic – but indicated a new direction.

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Now there Water standard (The Water Man), an adventure story written by Emma Neidel, who, in an attempt to save her dying mother, tries to find a mythical creature with healing powers that supposedly lives in the Oregon wilderness. Presented in the 2015 Black List, a list of the best non-produced scripts, Needell declined an eager studio offer with a hired director, opting to sell the script to Yoruba Saxon and Harpo Studios. Oprah Winfrey, To star Oyelovo.

According to Neidel, he needed to say yes to Oyelovo’s relationship to the material and his promise to keep him involved throughout the process. “David not only understood the story: he thought better than me that hope is the strongest form of bravery.”

It was also she who encouraged him to take up the director’s chair. According to Oyelowo, years had passed since the first time the script was bought, the funding finally went away, the cast was cast and then the director gave up – “ran away”. Its protagonist, Lonnie Chavis, this is us, It would have only a brief window before returning to the making of the series, and the team struggled. Needel knew that Oyelowo was behind it all the time: “I said, ‘Look, David, you’ve always been the person I trust the most in this project. You fully understand this and you have to direct it. needed.”

Therefore, Oyelowo moved to Oregon State with his family. The four children, now aged between nine and 19, served as her father’s informal advisors, and Jessica positioned herself behind the monitor to ensure that Oyelowo made a staunch military figure as one Offered strong performances, trying to understand his dreamy son while caring for his ailing wife (Rosario Dawson). This was important, as was directing the film, which cost more than $ 10 million and presented a heap of unexpected challenges: children, animals, bumpy terrain, and fire. (Jessica and the couple’s eldest son, Asher, also wrote the song that plays during the film’s final credits.)

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The film seemed to connect with Oyelowo on a spiritual level. “Water standard This is a sign of how I look Paternity. How do I see love? It is a force that can cut stones, and to be a father is to make mistakes every day, but that does not mean that you love your children less ”, the actor revealed.

Nagenda, Executive Officer Netflix Who worked with Oyelowo Katve ki rani And . Who were the original guards of Water standard While he was at Disney, he compared Oyelowo to another actor who became director Kenneth Branagh. “You can’t put any of them in a box,” he said, adding that it is Oyelovo’s global worldview and his belief that guides his professional choices. “He wants to work and doesn’t want to choose a job he doesn’t believe in, so he wants to make it his own.”

Similarly, Oyelovo established the conditions for the treatment of the breed in the film. The fact that it is the only black family in a mostly white city in Oregon sets the tone for the story, but it is not the focus of the plot. “For most non-white people in this country and wherever The breed There is a problem, a lot happens Micro attack, Not macro-aggression. They are Subtle things When you reach home, it makes you think: ‘Did it really happen?’ So my son asked me, ‘Are you going to play the role of best friend?’ It comes from somewhere. ”

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About the author: Will Smith

Will covers public and private tech markets from New York. He was previously a Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Economics and Business Journalism at Columbia University, and prior to that was a reporter at the Los Angeles Business Journal. He has received a Journalist of the Year award from the L.A. Press Club and an investigative reporting award from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.

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