Roland Martin sat down with David Oyelowo to talk about the Martin Luther King, Jr. biopic, “Selma” and the actor shared his thoughts about playing the role of MLK.
“Selma,” directed by Ava DuVernay, opens nationwide in theaters on January 9, 2015 was nominated for four Golden Globes, including nominations for Best Motion Picture and Ava DuVernay for Best Director in the Motion Picture category.
Oyelowo, born in Britain, told Martin, “When I first read the script in 2007, I wouldn’t cast me as Dr. King, between being English and at that point I’ve done very few American movies, but I felt a call of God to do this thing.”
When he auditioned for the part of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. the director onboard at the time didn’t feel as though he was right for the part and as a result of that, Oyelowo began a 7-year journey that has culminated to this point in time.
In speaking about the film Oyelowo still gets emotional because he took pride in the completion of the project. “I see indicators everywhere I look that this was indeed a divine endeavor because of the timing of it. You think this is 50 years since these events happened. This film could have happened at anytime in history, but it happens now when literally outside this very room there are protests.”
Oyelowo added, “Protests the like of which Bernice King told me only on last week she hasn’t seen since the Vietnam War and this is when this film is dropping.”
Oyelowo went on to mention how the Tamir Rice police shooting has affected him being the father of three sons.
“It hurts me to know that my son is under threat from law enforcement. It hurts me that we have had huge indicators of progress and yet there is still very real racism, very real injustice against us a Black people and particularly Black men.”
The star of “Selma” quoted some disturbing statistics about law enforcement and African American males saying, “you are 21 times more likely to be killed by the police as a Black man than a White man.”
Oyelowo said he “likes to think we have come further than we have,” but is also optimistic because he sees this as an “opportunity to do better.”
Check out Roland Martin’s interview with David Oyelowo in the video clip above and make sure you support “Selma” this weekend.
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