Selma was the very best film of last year, and that was in large part due to David Oyelowo‘s towering performance as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The actor has since been seen in an assortment of other challenging roles, from a conflicted DA in A Most Violent Year to a troubled war veteran in HBO’s Nightingale, but a new interview with Esquire reveals that Oyelowo may not be done with the civil rights leader just yet, if some powerful people have anything to say about it.
According to the story, Oyelowo was approached by the likes of Steven Spielberg and asked whether he would consider portraying King for another film:
“I was at an event for AFI during award season and Steven Spielberg—who famously has been interested in making his own Martin Luther King film—came up to me and said, ‘My goodness, David, that’s one of the best things I have ever seen. You really inspired me to take another look at my Dr. King film.’ And then he goes, ‘You would reprise the role, right? You would do it again?’ My stomach all but fell out of my body. I was just like, ‘Oh, my lord.’ That was quite a mountain to climb. Not only did idea of being asked to do it again give me pause, but here he is, Steven Spielberg of all people, [asking] if I entertain doing it again.”
Spielberg has been trying to make a film about Martin Luther King Jr. for years, and DreamWorks is interested in bringing him on board for a biopic that would (unlike Selma) be able to use King’s actual speeches.
It’s great to hear that the director thought enough of Oyelowo’s turn to practically offer him the lead in another MLK project, but that doesn’t mean anything is a done deal. Oyelowo tells Esquire he may steer clear of reprising the role for some time:
“I don’t know. I really don’t know. I’ve already been asked by a project that will remain nameless. To be honest, right now, today I couldn’t think of anything worse. Just the weight gain alone is a reason for me to stay away from it! But I feel like we did so much we set out to do with that film. It’s time to let that film do its thing for a while before I go entertaining anything like that.”
The actor is currently shooting sports drama Queen of Katwe. He’s also in pre-production on crime drama Three Seconds and race-themed drama A United Kingdom (with Rosamund Pike and Belle director Amma Asante), and also has Nina Simone biopic Nina in the can along with drama Five Nights in Maine and thriller Captive.
So, suffice to say, audiences will get to see him in a variety of parts before he’d ever circle back to playing King. And regardless of whether Spielberg’s courtship is successful, though, Oyelowo has provided the definitive portrayal of an American icon – perhaps it would be best if he left that performance to stand in a league of its own for a long while.
Source: The Playlist