*After starring as Martin Luther King Jr. in Ava DuVernay’s critically acclaimed movie “Selma,” David Oyelowo said in a recent interview with NPR, “I won’t do roles that I deem to be stereotypical.”
The 39-year-old British actor also shared his thoughts on acting and passing on roles that are racial stereotypes.
“Don’t send me your script if you want me to play the black best friend; I just won’t do that.”
Oyelowo stated that he’d much rather “work in a supermarket” than take a role he didn’t believe in. He also explained the responsibility he feels as an actor to help shape culture.
“I’m either part of the solution or I’m part of the problem. So I won’t do that; I won’t do roles that I deem to be stereotypical or caricatures of what it is to be black or even just to be a human being,” he said.
“I won’t do that… I know that films affect and shape culture, and I want to put stuff in the world that I feel is edifying as opposed to stuff that is detrimental.”
Listen to the full interview at NPR.
In related news, Oyelowo says Steven Spielberg wants him to reprise the role of Martin Luther King Jr. for his upcoming biopic. In an interview with Esquire, Oyelowo said:
“I was at an event for AFI during award season and Steven Spielberg—who has famously 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,” Oyelowo said. “I was just like, ‘Oh, my lord.’ That was quite a mountain to climb. Not only did the idea of being asked to do it again give me pause, but here he is, Steven Spielberg of all people, [asking] if I would entertain doing it again.”
Oyelowo also stated that others have approached him about reprising the role.
“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,” he said.