David Oyelowo, Charlize Theron and Joel Edgerton star in the newly-released dark comedy ‘Gringo’ stock full of hilarious and unintentional humor. David Oyelowo stars as the mild-mannered pharmaceutical worker Harold Soyinka who is blindsided by his wife and colleagues and ends up in deep trouble after being left behind in Mexico with angry local drug lords.
Touching the duality of right and wrong, Harold struggles blurring the lines although he’s a straight-laced individual. Journalist Courtney Brown sat down with actor David Oyelowo for a private luncheon where David, known for his groundbreaking performance as Martin Luther King Jr. in ‘Selma‘, shared his feelings on black films in Hollywood and Black Panther’s success:
On Hollywood’s depictation of Africa:
“It’s ironic to me that it’s taken a fictional view of Africa to depict what it truly feels like to be African. That regalness and embracing of resources on that continent, that’s all based on facts. People tried to flood bad reviews about Black Panther because it’s a threat. To perpetuate a narrative about us that is untrue to keep us from self-actualization. There’s been so many lies told to us about Africa that even those films weren’t about to break through in the same way… Africa has very seldom been inspirational cinematically because there has been so much pain when it pertains to slavery.”
On being raised in a Christian household and how that affects his decision making in Hollywood:
I operate within a very real moral compass that is dictated by my faith and relationship with Jesus Christ so I will play someone who is bad or evil but that behavior has to have a repercussion. Who you won’t see me play is someone who glamorizes questionable behavior. I tend to gravitate to things that have some kind of moral story to them. Like with Dr. King as a Christian, I wanted to show not just a leader, but a man— who wasn’t a perfect man and to show that it doesn’t take perfect people to do God’s work…so that could be everyone. And with ‘Queen of Katwe‘ (voice cracks)…sorry it makes me emotional. I made that film for my daughter… because it’s… to see a black man (wipes tear)…who is invested in his community… who loves this girl and loves these children… and we so seldom see that with black men where we are feeding into our communities in a positive way that has generational impact. For me, the gospel balls down to ‘Love God and Love one another’ so I gravitate to roles that are sacrificial. I say ‘no’ all the time to roles that perpetuate stereotypes, I cannot be a part of that because I’m either a part of solution or part of the problem.
Gringo is in theaters now!
photo courtesy of Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images