David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike Co-Star in True Tale of Forbidden Love

 

A United Kingdom,  DVD Review, David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike, 1946, Great Britain, Africa, racial intolerance, Lloyd's of LondonA United Kingdom

DVD Review by Kam Williams

David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike Co-Star in True Tale of Forbidden Love

Upon the untimely death of his father, Seretse Khama (David Oyelowo) was crowned the King of Bechuanaland at the tender age of 4. But his Uncle Tshekedi (Vusi Kunene) assumed the reins of power until the heir apparent could complete his education.

While studying law in Great Britain, Seretse fell in love at first sight with Ruth Williams (Rosamund Pike), a lowly clerk at Lloyd’s of London. Their whirlwind romance ignited an international firestorm of controversy because of their color, not their class, differences.

For, he was black and she was white, and this was 1946, a time of strict racial segregation. So, the couple’s scandalous liaison was met with resistance both in England and back of Africa.

Although they found themselves assailed with racial slurs like “slut” and “savage” while out on dates, the hostility only served to intensify their feelings for one another. Meanwhile, Seretse was threatened with the loss of his throne, since Bechuanaland was a protectorate of neighboring South Africa, a white supremacist nation. Nevertheless, he got down on one knee and proposed to Ruth and the two married just a year after they met.

Unfortunately, major impediments were subsequently placed between the exiled young monarch and his governing, and that struggle is the subject of A United Kingdom. Directed by Amma Asante (Belle), the film was shot on location in Botswana, which is what the country has called itself since gaining independence in 1966.

Because the movie telescopes tightly on Ruth and Seretse’s relationship, it’s success or failure is destined to turn on the performances of co-stars David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike. The good news is that they’re very talented thespians capable of disappearing into their roles while generating the requisite chemistry to make their characters’ enduring affair convincing.

The film’s only flaw is that it feels a bit rushed, as if director Asante had a long checklist of touchstones from “Colour Bar” (the 432-page book it’s based on) she was determined to shoehorn into the encyclopedic biopic. Nonetheless, the final product is a praiseworthy production reminiscent of another true tale of racial intolerance.

Can anybody say, “Loving,” African style!

Very Good (3 stars)

Rated PG-13 for sensuality, profanity and ethnic slurs

Running time: 111 minutes

Distributor: Distributor: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Extras: The Making of A United Kingdom; Filming in Botswana; The Legacy of Seretse and Ruth; and London Film Festival Opening Night Gala Premiere.

To order a copy of A United Kingdom on Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack, visit

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B06Y4S4VBX/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Source:  Baret News

Oyez! Oyez! Oyelowo!

 

David Oyelowo 

The “A United Kingdom” Interview

with Kam Williams

Oyez! Oyez! Oyelowo!

David Oyelowo is a multiple Golden Globe and Emmy-nominated actor and producer who has quickly become one of Hollywood’s most sought-after talents.

Later this year he’ll be seen in the third film in the Cloverfield horror franchise, and as the lead in the as-yet untitled Nash Edgerton film, co-starring Charlize Theron, Joel Edgerton, Thandie Newton and Amanda Seyfried.

David Oyelowo,   The “A United Kingdom” Interview,  with Kam Williams, Mira Nair’s Queen of Katwe, Selma, Nigerian, what's in your wallet

David gained international acclaim in 2014 starring as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Ava DuVernay’s Selma. For his performance, Oyelowo earned a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama.

Most recently, he starred opposite Lupita Nyong’o in Mira Nair’s Queen of Katwe, earning a NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture. And his additional film credits include Interstellar, A Most Violent Year, Captive, The Butler, Lincoln, Middle of Nowhere, Jack Reacher, The Paperboy, Red Tails, The Help and The Last King of Scotland.

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On the small screen, David starred in the HBO film, Nightingale, earning a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television. He has collaborated with HBO on several other occasions, including a starring role in Kenneth Branagh’s 2006 production of “As You Like It,” in which he played ‘Orlando’ opposite Bryce Dallas Howard; and as the lead in the mini-series, “Five Days,” for which he won a Satellite Award for Best Actor in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television.

In 2008, he starred in the critically-acclaimed adaptation of the Alexander McCall Smith novel, “The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency,” which was directed by the late Anthony Minghella. He appeared in ABC-TV’s 2008 Golden Globe-nominated production of “A Raisin in the Sun,” too, alongside Sanaa Lathan, Sean Combs and Phylicia Rashad.

 

A classically-trained actor, David recently appeared opposite Daniel Craig as the title character in the New York Theatre Workshop Off-Broadway production of Othello. He got his start on stage in 1999 with The Royal Shakespeare Company. He garnered national recognition for his performance as King Henry VI in the RSC’s 2001 production, when he was cast as the first black actor to play an English king in a major production of Shakespeare. The performance won David the 2001 Ian Charleson Award, which is presented in recognition of the best classical stage performances in Britain by actors under the age of 30.

Here, he talks about his latest outing opposite Rosamund Pike as an African king who falls for a British commoner in A United Kingdom. 

Kam Williams: Hi David, thanks for another interview. I really enjoyed the film.

David Oyelowo: Thanks.

KW: What interested you in A United Kingdom?

DO: The fact that it was a story I felt I should know, but I didn’t know. And as I dug deeper, I appreciated the enduring love that Seretse and Ruth had for each other was a wonderful story.

KW: After I watched the film, I went home and looked up their story as well as the history of Botswana, since I’d known nothing about either.

DO: One of the amazing things about this experience for me has been the Google trail. There’s so much to learn about them and African history.

KW: I appreciate Amma Asante making a movie like this because when I grew up, the only movies about Africa I saw were Tarzan movies. So, I grew up rooting for Tarzan and thinking all Africans were cannibals. It reminds me of how a Native American friend says he grew up identifying with the cowboys and hating Indians because of how he’d been brainwashed by Westerns.

David Oyelowo,   The “A United Kingdom” Interview,  with Kam Williams, Mira Nair’s Queen of Katwe, Selma, Nigerian, what's in your wallet

DO: That underscores the significance of someone like Amma getting a story like this made.   

KW: Editor/Legist Patricia Turnier asks: Did you speak to Ruth and Seretse descendants in preparation for the role??

DO: Yes, and we even shot on location in Botswana.

KW: Patricia observes that, unlike many other actors, you have managed to avoid being typecast. She asks: what is your secret?

DO: Becoming typecast is something that can happen very easily, if you are not paying attention. Look, the fact of the matter is that Seretse and Dr. Martin Luther King [in Selma] makes it twice in a row now that I’ve played historical, political figures. I’ve got to be mindful of that going forward, despite how much i admire both of these men. You’ve got change it up to have a long career. so, I won’t be playing that sort of role in the near future.

KW: Since she’s French-Canadian, she’s also wondering whether the movie will be translated into other languages and if it will be showcased at Cannes 

DO: It won’t be showcased at Cannes, because it’s already been released. But, yes, it will be distributed internationally, in Canada, France, Botswana, Italy, Germany and many other countries.

KW: How was it working opposite Rosamund Pike? How do you explain the great chemistry the two of you generated on screen?

DO: I had been working on the film for a long time, and it was important to find an actress who shared my passion for the project. When I sent Rosamund pictures of Seretse and Ruth, she had such an emotional and visceral reaction to them, it really gave me a lot of confidence that we would be bringing everything we could to the work. And I think that passion for the project led to the chemistry you see onscreen.

KW: This year, the Academy nominated seven actors of color for Oscars after not nominating any the previous two years. But that must be little consolation to you, since your terrific performance in Selma as Dr. King was snubbed.   

DO: Well, thank you, but films are for life. Even with what happened with Selma, everywhere I go, people have seen that film. And at the end of the day, that’s why you do it. with the passage of time, no one really remembers who was nominated or who won, it’s the film that has to stand on its own two legs. i’m very proud to say that I feel we achieved that with Selma.

KW: The Viola Davis question: What’s the biggest difference between who you are at home as opposed to the person we see on the red carpet?

DO: [LOL] Well, I’m a lot sillier at home. I have four kids and a very rowdy house.

KW: What is your favorite dish to cook for the kids?

DO: Being of Nigerian descent, I like to make fried plantains. It was a staple of mine growing up, and it’s a big favorite in our house.

KW: Larry Greenberg asks: Do you have a favorite movie monster?   

DO: [Laughs again] A favorite movie monster? Gosh… I have to say I was very intoxicated by King Kong growing up. I had one of those rubber King Kong dolls with stretchy arms, and I would play with it for hours.

KW: Harriet Pakula-Teweles asks: With so many classic films being redone, is there a remake you’d like to star in?

DO: I always think it’s a bad idea remaking classics. I’m of the mind that it’s best to leave them alone unless you have a very, very fresh point-of-view which is almost never the case. 

KW: The Sanaa Lathan question: What excites you at this point in your career? I see you have an untitled project with Nash Edgerton coming up.

DO: Yeah, that’s an action-comedy, which is a very different speed for me. I really loved doing that film. Speaking of avoiding being typecast, I really want to try my hand at some different genres. Action is something I love to watch, and I’ve had fun whenever it’s come my way. Rasamund and I met doing an action-thriller [Jack Reacher]. I really enjoyed that experience, and would love to do something like that again. Comedy is something else I enjoy watching, and would love to do. So, the idea is to just keep mixing it up.   

KW: You also have God Particle coming up with Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Chris O’Dowd. What’s that about?

DO: It’s a sci-fi that J.J. Abrams is producing and a wonderful, young director named Julius Onah is directing. As i’m sure you know, because it’s a J.J. Abrams project, if I reveal any more, I’ll be shot in the kneecaps. [Chuckles]

KW: Super 8 is my favorite J.J. Abrams movie. Have you seen it?

DO: Yes, he’s a very special filmmaker. And we’ve really pushed the envelope with God Particle which is coming out in October.

KW: What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done with your kids?

DO: Taking them skiing. They thought they’d mastered it before they really had, so they started doing all these crazy jumps and things. They were incredibly good at it, and everything turned out fine, but it got a little hairy there for a second.

KW: When do you feel the most content? 

DO: When I’m at home with my wife and kids, slumped on the couch, watching a movie or laughing together.

KW: Let’s say you’re throwing your dream dinner party—who’s invited?

DO: I’d love to have Sidney Poitier, Daniel Day Lewis, Denzel Washington and Sean Penn over.

KW: The Anthony Anderson question: If you could have a superpower, which one would you choose?

DO: I would probably choose time-traveling, so I could go back and change some of the fashion choices I’ve made.

KW: Attorney Bernadette Beekman asks: If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your 13 year-old self? 

DO: When I was younger I couldn’t wait to be older. I would say, “Slow down!”

KW: Bernadette also asks: What is your favorite charity?

DO: The GEANCO Foundation which provides scholarships for Nigerian girls who have been victims of Boko Haram.

KW: The Tavis Smiley question: How do you want to be remembered?

DO: As someone who helped people.

KW: Finally, Samuel L. Jackson asks: What’s in your wallet?

DO: [LOL] Less money than people think.

KW: Thanks again for the time, David, and best of luck with A United Kingdom.

DO: Thank you very much, Kam.

Source:  GIG News

Historical Drama Recounts Scandalous Interracial Romance

 

A United Kingdom

Film Review by Kam Williams

Historical Drama Recounts Scandalous Interracial Romance

Upon the untimely death of his father, Seretse Khama (David Oyelowo) was crowned the King of Bechuanaland at the tender age of 4. But his Uncle Tshekedi (Vusi Kunene) assumed the reins of power until the heir apparent could complete his education.

A United Kingdom,  Film Review, by Kam Williams, David Oyelowo, King of Bechuanaland, Vusi Kunene, racial segregation, whirlwind romanceWhile studying law in Great Britain, Seretse fell in love at first sight with Ruth Williams (Rosamund Pike), a lowly clerk at Lloyd’s of London. Their whirlwind romance ignited an international firestorm of controversy because of their color, not their class, differences.

For, he was black and she was white, and this was 1946, a time of strict racial segregation. So, the couple’s scandalous liaison was met with resistance both in England and back of Africa.

Although they found themselves assailed with racial slurs like “slut” and “savage” while out on dates, the hostility only served to intensify their feelings for one another. Meanwhile, Seretse was threatened with the loss of his throne, since Bechuanaland was a protectorate of neighboring South Africa, a white supremacist nation. Nevertheless, he got down on one knee and proposed to Ruth and the two married just a year after they met.

Unfortunately, major impediments were subsequently placed between the exiled young monarch and his governing, and that struggle is the subject of A United Kingdom. Directed by Amma Asante (Belle), the film was shot on location in Botswana, which is what the country has called itself since gaining independence in 1966.

Because the movie telescopes tightly on Ruth and Seretse’s relationship, it’s success or failure is destined to turn on the performances of co-stars David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike. The good news is that they’re very talented thespians capable of disappearing into their roles while generating the requisite chemistry to make their characters’ enduring affair convincing.

The film’s only flaw is that it feels a bit rushed, as if director Asante had a long checklist of touchstones from “Colour Bar” (the 432-page book it’s based on) she was determined to shoehorn into the encyclopedic biopic. Nonetheless, the final product is a praiseworthy production reminiscent of another tale of racial intolerance recently in theaters.

Let’s say, “Loving,” African style!

Very Good (3 stars)

Rated PG-13 for sensuality, profanity and ethnic slurs

Running time: 111 minutes

Studio: Harbinger Pictures

Distributor: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Source:  GIG News

Mellow Oyelowo!

David Oyelowo

The “Selma” Interview

with Kam Williams

Mellow Oyelowo!

 

David Oyelowo (pronounced – “oh-yellow-oh”) is a classically-trained stage actor who is working successfully and simultaneously in film, television and theater, and has quickly become one of Hollywood’s most sought-after talents. He was recently nominated for a Golden Globe for his stirring performance as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the highly-anticipated, civil rights drama Selma. Directed by Ava DuVernay and produced by Oprah Winfrey and Brad Pitt’s Plan B, the film follows the black fight for the right to register to vote culminating in the march from Selma to Montgomery and in President Lyndon Johnson’s signing of the historic Voting Rights Act of 1965.

UntitledDavid can currently be seen in Christopher Nolan’s space travel, sci-fi adventure Interstellar and in A Most Violent Year opposite Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac. He just wrapped production on Captive, a true-life crime thriller, and will soon co-star in Nina, a biographical drama about Nina Simone (played by Zoe Saldana).

A year ago, he co-starred in Lee Daniels’ The Butler, alongside Forest Whitaker, John Cusack, James Marsden and Oprah Winfrey. And in 2012, he was seen in Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-nominated drama Lincoln, with Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones.

Additionally, David starred in the critically-acclaimed independent drama, Middle of Nowhere, also directed by Ava DuVernay, and in Lee Daniels’ The Paperboy, opposite Nicole Kidman, Matthew McConaughey and Zac Efron. His other screen credits include the George Lucas-produced Red Tails, Rise of The Planet of The Apes, The Help, 96 Minutes, The Last King of Scotland and Who Do You Love.

David first impressed audiences on the stage when he starred in The Suppliants at the Gate Theatre playing King Palasgus. Next, he played the title role of Henry VI, becoming the first black actor to play an English king for the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Kam Williams: Hi David, thanks for the interview.

David Oyelowo: My pleasure, Kam. How are you?

 

KW: I’m great! Congratulations on the announcement of Golden Globe nominations for you and Ava DuVernay.

DO: Yes, that was a very, very nice moment for us. I’m particularly proud of her. When you look at that list of directors she’s in the company of, it’s pretty extraordinary to think that she’s only been directing for five years, and that she’s the first black woman to be afforded this honor. So, we’re really, really happy, particularly when it comes to her.

 

KW: Environmental activist Grace Sinden says: You have had a very successful and varied career but your role portraying Martin Luther King in Selma must have been an extraordinary experience. I have only seen the trailer online and was deeply moved by your performance. How emotional an experience was portraying Dr. King for you?

DO: It was a deeply-emotional experience for numerous reasons, not the least of it being that the film had been very hard to get off the ground. So, there were several times when I had to pinch myself about the fact that we were actually getting it made. When you reflect upon the significance of Dr. King to this nation, it’s criminal that he hasn’t had a feature film that was centered around him until now. That, in and of itself, was emotional. But when you’re doing scenes on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, with people still living in Selma and now in their 60s and 70s who had actually marched, who were there that original Bloody Sunday, that’s humbling… that’s deeply moving. You’re no longer acting at that stage, you’re just reacting, because it takes the filmmaking process to another dimension. So, yes it was an intensely emotional shoot, but also an intensely joyful shoot, since we really felt we were paying honor and doing service to these great men and women who had participated.

 

KW: Rel Dowdell, Patricia Turnier and Sangeetha Subramanian all ask: How did you prepare for your definitive performance as the iconic Dr. Martin Luther King?

DO: Even though the journey towards doing it was long and at times frustrating, one of the good by-products of its taking awhile was that I had time to really study King, to study his movements. I also had the God-given opportunity to be in films like Lincoln, The Help, The Butler and Red Tails, films that look at the black experience in this country over the past 150 years. So, I had this historical education going on before stepping into this role. All of those things, combined with talking to Dr. King’s children, and spending a lot of time with Andrew Young who, of course, knew him intimately, were all elements that helped me immeasurably get to where I got.

 

KW: Harriet Pakula-Teweles asks: How does an actor faithfully embody an historical figure without simply presenting another newsreel portrayal?

4994066_galDO: Well, I think the way you do that is by focusing on what’s behind the newsreels. If you merely focus on what we already know, then it’s not revelatory. You may as well just go and watch a documentary or a few videos on Youtube, and you’re good. What I had to do was go and find the guy who is the father, the friend, the man who was unsure, the man who needed friends around him in order to be able to keep on going. What does a moment where he’s home alone with his wife feel like? What does a moment where he’s just completely on his own feel like? To show what he’s like when he’s quiet, as opposed to when he’s giving a speech are things that I think are absolutely necessary in order for an audience to feel like they’re seeing a side of this historical figure that they didn’t know before.

 

KW: David Roth asks: What was it like collaborating with director Ava DuVernay again? Did it make a difference that you’d worked with her before?

DO: Well, in what I do for a living, trust and confidence are key. Inevitably, you can’t make brave choices and do your best work, if you don’t have those, because it’s such a subjective art form, and you don’t have eyes on yourself.

Having done Middle of Nowhere with Ava, I had found someone I deeply trust, not just as a human being, but in terms of her creative and artistic vision. And in playing a role as exposing as Dr. King, you want someone leading you that you implicitly trust. That was one of the blessings of working with Ava again on this. And not only do I trust her as a person, but I think her ability as a director is world class. She’s as good as anyone I’ve worked with before, and that’s something that instills confidence.

 

KW: Chandra McQueen says: Your performance in Selma was remarkable. We saw the human and iconic side of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in your      performance. Was there anything that surprised you, something new that you discovered about Dr. King, while studying for the role?

DO: I think what a lot of people don’t realize is how much being the leader of this movement weighed upon him. After all, he was only 39 years-old when he was assassinated, and only 36 during the Selma campaign. He always seemed older than he actually was, and I believe part of that had to do with just how much life he had to live in order to lead this movement. He was away from home 28 days of any given month. He was a voice for the voiceless and had so many people relying upon him. As a result, that made for a man who, to be perfectly frank, had lived two lifetimes by the time he was killed. That was something I felt in the playing of it. I don’t think I could have done what he did. That was quite extraordinary.

 

KW: Well, you made history in your own right with your performance as Henry VI when you were the first black actor to play an English king with the Royal Shakespeare Company. How did that accomplishment feel?

DO: It felt great, because I was glad to be the one to break the deadlock. Yet, it was bittersweet because, like Ava says of her Golden Globe nomination, even though I was the first to be afforded the honor, I’m sure I wasn’t the first black person deserving of that honor. So, it’s something to be proud of, but we’re keen to move on from the first and to be an undeniable part of the conversation going forward.

 

KW: Thanks again for the time, David.

DO: Thanks so much, Kam, and have a good day.

 

Source:  Baret News Wire