The Michigan Times

Oyelowo A “Bloodhound” for Opportunity

Photo Credit: Justin Shanlian

Photo Credit: Justin Shanlian

Justin Shanlian

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Golden Globe nominated actor David Oyelowo, known for his tour de force performance in “Selma,” spoke with The Michigan Times to talk about his upcoming movie “Captive” and give a little bit of insight on his career and personal life.

Oyelowo has worked with some of Hollywood’s greatest modern day directors such as Steven Spielberg, Christopher Nolan, Ava DuVernay and Lee Daniels. Oyelowo bases his  roles not just on the characters he will be bringing to life, but on the people who will be sitting in the director’s chair. He isn’t afraid of turning down roles that he feels are just not a good fit.

“I’m a bloodhound for directors at the top of their field and I want to work with a director that enables me to be the best possible actor I can be,” he said.

While Oyelowo realized that he might face some danger by playing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and acting in a film that was closely associated with Dr. King’s work, he didn’t want to limit himself by not taking the role. That role received much attention from critics and audiences alike for his stirring and haunting performance, which garnered him a Golden Globe nomination.

However, his role as Brian Nichols in “Captive,” which hit theaters Sept. 18, is completely different; a flip of the coin from his last high profiled role as Dr. King. He is cast as a convict that escapes prison and goes on a murderous rampage. While on the lam he takes Kate Mara’s character, Ashely Smith, captive. In captivity, an unlikely bond forms between the two.

“I’m a big believer in keeping the audience guessing to keep them interested in my work,” said Oyelowo. He also compares his work with directors to playing a game of tennis.

“You are only as good as your opponent; I would much rather play a tiny role for Chris Nolan than play a gigantic role for a subpar director who would basically cause me to pick up bad habits and give a bad performance,” said Oyelowo.

He also learns from the actors that he shares a set with, even if it requires only working for a day. He said being on the set of “Lincoln” helped shape his mantra for what is to be a great actor looking to have longevity in Hollywood.

“Being on that set with Spielberg and Daniel Day Lewis gave me the blueprint of how to play Dr. King. I truly saw the level of immersion it takes to play a role like that. Those experiences never leave you,” said Oyelowo.

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