David Oyelowo – MovieActors.com

David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King in SELMA.

About David Oyelowo (1976 – )

David Oyetokunbo Oyelowo was born in Oxford, to Nigerian parents of Yoruba ethnicity. His mother worked for British Rail, and his father, Stephen, worked for British Airways. He studied theatre studies at City and Islington College, where his teacher suggested that he become an actor. Oyelowo enrolled for a year in an art foundation course, at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA). He finished his three-year training in 1998. He also spent time with the National Youth Theatre.

He began his stage career in 1999 when he was offered a season with the Royal Shakespeare Company playing roles in Ben Jonson's Volpone, as the title character in Oroonoko (which he also performed in the BBC radio adaptation) and Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra (1999) alongside Guy Henry, Frances de la Tour and Alan Bates. He is however best known for his next stage performance as King Henry VI in the Royal Shakespeare Company's 2001 productions of Shakespeare's trilogy of plays about the king as a part of its season This England: The Histories. In a major landmark for color-blind casting, Oyelowo was the first black actor to play an English king in a major production of Shakespeare, and although this casting choice was initially criticized by some in the media, Oyelowo's performance was critically acclaimed and later won the 2001 Ian Charleson Award for best performance by an actor under 30 in a classical play.

In 2005, he appeared in a production of Prometheus Bound, which was revived in New York in 2007. In 2006, he made his directorial debut on a production of The White Devil, produced by his own theatre company in Brighton, Inservice, co-run with fellow Brighton-based actors Priyanga Burford, Israel Aduramo, Penelope Cobbuld, and his wife, Jessica.

Oyelowo is best known for playing MI5 officer Danny Hunter in the British TV drama series Spooks (known in North America as MI-5) from 2002 to 2004. He had before that appeared in Tomorrow La Scala (2002), Maisie Raine (1998) and Brothers and Sisters (1998). Soon after the end of his time on Spooks Oyelowo made a cameo appearance in the 2005 Christmas special of As Time Goes By. In 2006 he appeared in the TV film Born Equal alongside Nikki Amuka-Bird as a couple fleeing persecution in Nigeria – they also both appeared in Shoot the Messenger (2006), and in The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (2008) as a husband and wife. Other cameos have included Mayo (guest-starring on 30 April 2006) and the TV film Sweet Nothing in My Ear (2008, as defence attorney Leonard Grisham), while he has played recurring or main characters in Five Days (2007) and The Passion (2008, as Joseph of Arimathea).

In December 2009 he played the leading role of Gilbert in the BBC TV adaptation of Andrea Levy's novel Small Island. In March 2010 he played the part of Keme Tobodo in the BBC's drama series Blood and Oil.

He appeared as Olaudah Equiano in Grace Unshackled – The Olaudah Equiano Story, a radio play adapting Equiano's autobiography. This was first broadcast on BBC 7 on Easter Sunday, 8 April 2007, with Jessica Oyelowo as Mrs Equiano.

In 2007, Oyelowo was the reader for John le Carré's The Mission Song. AudioFile magazine stated: "Think of David Oyelowo as a single musician playing all the instruments in a symphony. That is essentially what he manages in this inspired performance of John le Carré's suspense novel.... Can it really have been only one man in the narrator's recording booth? This virtuoso performance makes that seem impossible." In 2015, he was selected to portray James Bond in Trigger Mortis, written by Anthony Horowitz.

In 2012, Oyelowo appeared in Middle of Nowhere. Writer-director Ava DuVernay had been a fan of his work and had considered asking him to take the role, however before she could Oyelowo received the script coincidentally from a friend of DuVernay's who happened to be sitting next to him on the plane and was considering investing in the project. The film premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival to critical raves. That same year Oyelowo appeared in Lee Daniels' The Paperboy, which competed for the Palme d'Or at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. Oyelowo also stars in Five Nights in Maine, which was directed by Maris Curran.

Oyelowo reunited with Daniels the following year in The Butler.

In 2014, he reunited with his Middle of Nowhere director Ava DuVernay for Selma, playing civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr. The film, based on the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches, had originally been set to be directed by Lee Daniels, but the project was dropped by Daniels so he could focus on The Butler.

Oyelowo is also slated to star with Lupita Nyong'o in Americanah, a film to be adapted from the Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie novel. The story follows a pair of young Nigerian immigrants who face a lifetime of struggle while their relationship endures.

He is married to actress Jessica Oyelowo, with whom he has four children. They live in Los Angeles.

A devout Christian, Oyelowo has stated that he believes God called him to play Rev. Martin Luther, King Jr. Reflecting on his portrayal of King in the film Selma, Oyelowo has asserted that "I always knew that in order to play Dr. King, I had to have God flow through me because when you see Dr. King giving those speeches, you see that he is moving in his anointing."

Oyelowo was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2016 New Year Honours for services to drama.

David Oyelowo's movie credits include...

Year Movie Role
2001 Dog Eat Dog CJ
2005 A Sound of Thunder Payne
2005 The Best Man Graham
2005 Derailed Patrol Officer
2006 As You Like It Orlando De Boys
2006 The Last King of Scotland Dr. Junju
2008 Who Do You Love? Muddy Waters
2008 A Raisin in the Sun Joseph Asagai
2009 Rage Homer
2011 Rise of the Planet of the Apes Steven Jacobs
2011 The Help Preacher Green
2011 96 Minutes Duane
2012 Red Tails 1st Lt. Joe “Lightning" Little
2012 The Paperboy Yardley Acheman
2012 Middle of Nowhere Brian
2012 Lincoln Ira Clark
2012 Jack Reacher Emerson
2013 The Butler Louis Gaines
2014 Interstellar School Principal
2014 Default Atlas
2014 Selma Martin Luther King, Jr.
2014 A Most Violent Year Lawrence
2015 Captive Brian Nichols
2015 Five Nights in Maine Sherwin
2016 Nina Clifton Henderson
2016 Queen of Katwe Robert Katende
2016 A United Kingdom Seretse Khama

David Oyelowo's television credits include...

Year Show/Series Role
1998 Maisie Raine Sonny McDonald
1998 Brothers and Sisters Lester Peters
Spooks Danny Hunter
2005 As Time Goes By Patrick
2006 Shoot the Messenger Joseph Pascale
2006 The Gil Mayo Mysteries Eddie Barton, “Sexy" M.P.
2007 Five Days Matt Wellings
2008 A Raisin in the Sun Joseph Asagai
2008 The Passion Joseph of Arimathea
2008 The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Kremlin Busang
2009 Small Island Gilbert
2010 Blood and Oil Keme Tobodo
2011 The Good Wife Judge Edward Weldon
Glenn Martin, DDS Teacher / Clarence (voice)
2013 Complicit Edward Ekubo
Star Wars Rebels Agent Kallus (voice)
2014 Robot Chicken Sebastian (voice)
2014 Nightingale Peter Snowden

Memorable Quotes by David Oyelowo

“It's fascinating to work with a company of actors of such different ages, experience and talents. I'm one of a generation brought up on television whose acting is more 'naturalistic', whereas with some of the older generation it's more heightened. But I think there's room for both styles.”

“I think it's vital to have something outside your acting to keep you rooted in the real world, and help you fill the vacuum. If you have nothing else, it can be unhealthy. For me being a Christian has been invaluable: it simply means acting isn't the centre of my life.”

[defending Benedict Cumberbatch after he caused outrage for using the term "colored actors" instead of "actors of color"] “When you look at what he was actually saying, it's clear that he's a huge supporter of black performers. To attack him for a term, as opposed to what he was actually saying, I think is very disingenuous and is indicative of the age we live in where people are looking for soundbites as opposed to substance.”

“Don't send me your script if you want me to play the black best friend. I just won't do that.”

“For me, I'm always looking for opportunities to work with people who are better than me, who are more experienced than me, people from whom I can learn. And who could I learn more from than someone with an unprecedented movie star career that has spanned over thirty years whose name is Tom Cruise?”

“I'm one of those actors who says, "Point me toward the work that matters to me and I don't care where you're putting it. Television show. Movie. Projected on the back of someone's garage." If that's where the work is that's exciting to me and moving, I want to be there.”

Things You May Not Know About David Oyelowo

David made history in 2000 when he became the first black actor to portray an English monarch for the Royal Shakespeare Company when he played the title role in a production of Henry VI Parts I, II and III.

His performance in the title role of the RSC's production of Henry VI Parts I, II and III earned him the Ian Charleson Award in 2001 for outstanding performance by a young actor in a classical theatre role.

His surname is pronounced phonetically "oh-yeh-lo-wo".

He has two roles in common with Jeffrey Wright: (1) Wright played Martin Luther King in Boycott (2001) while Oyelowo played him in Selma (2014) - in both productions, Carmen Ejogo played King's wife Coretta Scott King and (2) Oyelowo played Muddy Waters in Who Do You Love (2008) while Wright played him in Cadillac Records (2008).

While a guest on "Fresh Air," David Oyelowo told interviewer Terry Gross that his father was a member of a royal family in Nigeria, and his last name literally means "a king deserves respect." But he also joked, "now, don't get me wrong. You know, royal families are a dime a dozen in Nigeria. It's more like being the king of Sherman Oaks, really. But, you know it's - but still, it carries some weight."

As of 2015, has appeared in three films that were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar: The Help (2011), Lincoln (2012) and Selma (2014).

_0000_David%20Oyelowo%20-%20Selma%20-%20Pic1 _0001_David%20Oyelowo%20-%20Selma%20-%20Pic2 _0002_David%20Oyelowo%20-%20Selma%20-%20Pic3 _0003_David%20Oyelowo%20-%20Selma%20-%20Pic4 _0004_David%20Oyelowo%20-%20Selma%20-%20Pic5 _0005_David%20Oyelowo%20-%20Selma%20-%20Pic6 _0006_David%20Oyelowo%20-%20Selma%20-%20Pic8%20-%20with%20Carmen%20Ejogo _0007_David%20Oyelowo%20-%20Selma%20-%20Pic9
David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King in Selma (2014)... with
Carmen Ejogo as Coretta Scott King in second picture from bottom.
David Oyelowo in A Raisin in the Sun (2008).
Oyelowo with Dianne Wiest in Five Nights in Maine (2015).
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Oyelowo in Nightingale (2014).
Oyelowo with Zoe Saldana in Nina (2016).
In the short "206" (2013).
_0015_David%20Oyelowo%20-%20Red%20Tails%20-%20Pic1 _0016_David%20Oyelowo%20-%20Red%20Tails%20-%20Pic2%20-%20with%20Tristan%20Wilds%20and%20Nate%20Parker _0017_David%20Oyelowo%20-%20Red%20Tails%20-%20Pic3%20-%20with%20Leslie%20Odom%20Jr%20%2B%20Michael%20B%20Jordan%20%2B%20Nate%20Parker%20%2B%20Kevin%20Phillips%20%2B%20Elijah%20
In George Lucas's Red Tails (2012)... with Tristan Wilds and Nate Parker
in middle picture... bottom picture with Nate Parker, Kevin Phillips and Elijah Kelley.
In Complicit (2013).
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Oyelowo in Jack Reacher (2012)... Top picture with Tom Cruise and Richard Jenkins.
Oyelowo in The Butler (2013).
In Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011).
As the high school principal in Interstellar (2014).
Oyelowo in Default (2014).
As Muddy Waters in Who Do You Love? (2008)
As Preacher Green in The Help (2011).
With Matthew McConaughey in The Paperboy (2012).
_0029_David%20Oyelowo%20-%20Middle%20of%20Nowhere%20-%20Pic1%20-%20with%20Emayatzy%20Corinealdi _0030_David%20Oyelowo%20-%20Middle%20of%20Nowhere%20-%20Pic2%20-%20with%20Emayatzy%20Corinealdi
David Oyelowo and Emayatzy Corinealdi in Middle of Nowhere (2012).