After his powerhouse performance in Selma and incendiary one-man-show in HBO’s Nightingale, it’s clearer than ever that David Oyelowo is Hollywood’s next great actor. Now, Disney may be the next studio to work with him, entering into discussions with Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Films and Oyelowo’s Yoruba Saxon for The Water Man.
If a deal comes together, Oyelowo will take on a supporting role in the pic. The story (written on spec by Emma Needell and described as a tonal blend of Stand By Me, E.T. and Close Encounters of the Third Kind) focuses on Gunner, a boy who tries to find the legendary Water Man, a being with the ability to cheat death, whom the boy hopes will save his dying mother.
Oyelowo would play Gunner’s father, Amos, with whom the boy has an adversarial relationship. When Gunner goes on the run to find the Water Man, Amos follows, attempting to bring home the only family he’ll have left once Gunner’s mother passes away.
The Water Man was Needell’s very first spec script, and she was signed by Anonymous Content and WME just based on the strength of that work, which is a tremendously promising sign. It all sounds very Amblin, but Disney has been attempting to put out some original films in addition to all the fairy-tale re-imaginings, even in the wake of Tomorrowland‘s box office failure, so perhaps this will be the four-quadrant heart-warmer that the studio has been looking for over the past few years. Having Oyelowo on board certainly doesn’t hurt its chances.
Source: The Playlist