David Oyelowo did not have to look very far for inspiration for his newest film, A United Kingdom.
The 40-year-old actor, known for his lead roles in Selma (2014) and Queen of Katwe (2016), plays Seretse Khama, an African man and the prince of Bechuanaland (now Botswana) who is told by his family and his country not to marry the love of his life, a white British woman named Ruth Williams. When they do marry, he is placed in exile and prevented from re-entering his homeland.
The movie is set in the 1940s and 1950s and is based on a true story about an interracial marriage — a story that is unfamiliar to most Americans. The British government also opposed the marriage, as did Williams’ parents.
The film is personal for Oyelowo, who was born in the United Kingdom but grew up in Africa and, like Khama, is married to a white woman.
“It just made me feel very blessed that I didn’t have to go through that,” Oyelowo told The Christian Post.
A United Kingdom (PG-13), which is expanding this weekend, is but the latest historical film for Oyelowo, who was nominated for a Golden Globe and a Critics’ Choice Movie Award for his portrayal of Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma. He has starred in other true-to-life films, including Queen of Katwe.
Oyelowo said he is drawn to inspirational historical films partially because of his Christian faith and his desire to play leaders who “exhibit characteristics that I already aspire to.” He calls Christ “the rock on which I build my life.”
“I pray about what I should and shouldn’t do [in movies], and of course who you are dictates what you are drawn to, and so I am sure that the roles I play, the films I do, are a reflection of what I believe,” he said. “They would have to be. There is no doubt that there is a correlation between my faith as a person and the roles I play.”
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SOURCE: The Christian Post, Michael Foust