When was the last time you saw a movie about an African king that didn’t focus on corruption or war but instead featured a love story that supposedly “changed the world”?
That’s the reason British-Nigerian actor David Oyelowo is excited about his leading role in the upcoming movie A United Kingdom. He opened up about this during an interview with Metro.
Oyelowo plays former Botswana President Seretse Khama, who married a white Englishwoman, Ruth Williams—a pairing that no doubt angered some people but, according to Oyelowo, ultimately provided inspiration for a film about an African king that didn’t involve violence.
“This is about an African king who married a white woman and their love changed the world,” Oyelowo said. “It’s an epic love story. I can’t remember the last time I saw that, certainly not with a black protagonist at the center.”
Oyelowo in real life is married to a white woman, so his own life no doubt played a role in why this film resonated with him. That, and the fact that he’s African.
“There’s no question that my own very happy marriage is part of the inspiration of why I want to see a story like A United Kingdom told,” he confessed.
“I’m Nigerian—I’m from Africa, my parents are from Nigeria—and I just don’t feel like there are enough stories out of Africa that are transcendent that aren’t about dictators, or degradation, or poverty or, to be perfectly frank, ‘a white savior’ at the center of the story,” he said.
Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele is a staff writer at The Root and the founder and executive producer of Lectures to Beats, a Web series that features video interviews with scarily insightful people. Follow Lectures to Beats on Facebook and Twitter.