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David Oyelowo: It’s a fight to get cast in a starring role

Larry King NowFeb 10 '17

Though he has multiple indelible performances to his name, David Oyelowo says it’s a fight as a black actor to get cast as a film’s protagonist. Plus, the award-winning actor on the difficulty of getting ‘The Butler’ made.

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David Oyelowo: I think that there are still huge strides to be made, and every time I get cast as a protagonist, it’s a fight. And I know that’s not necessarily the case for my white counterparts. And I hope that the time beyond me will be less so for those who come behind me, that it’d be less of a fight, that it’d be more natural to just have black people at the center of the narrative, and that it’d be accepted by our industry in the way that I believe it is accepted by the audience.

Larry King: Was ‘Butler’ a difficult shoot?

David Oyelowo: It was a difficult shoot, and it was a very, very difficult film to get made, for the reasons I just stated, you know, no one wanted to make it, it was an inordinate amount of producers, the finances had to be cobbled from so many different sources because we were constantly being told, “No one wants to see that, no one wants to see, you know, a black protagonist, a black family, a period film that has black people at the center of it,” and then it went on to make over $100 million dollars and be a beloved film. So there is a real discrepancy between what the business says the audience want to see and what the audience actually want to see.

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