On a Mission Anointed by God:
Actor Says God Told Him He Would Play the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
By Ben Kayser, Managing Editor
In an exclusive interview with Movieguide®, breakout actor David Oyelowo boldly shared that God spoke to him and told him he would be playing the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in SELMA, a powerful movie about the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1965 march on Montgomery, Alabama for voting rights for African Americans.
“I first read the script in 2007,” Oyelowo told Movieguide®, “and felt very strongly that God told me I would play this role in this film. That’s the only way I could even entertain the crazy idea of me getting to play this.”
In an interview with The Huffington Post, Oyelowo further said, “What I couldn’t have anticipated is how much I needed, to be perfectly frank, God’s help in the playing of it. Not least because this was a man of God. This was someone, if you’ve seen him giving those speeches, there is something flowing through him other than himself. He is flowing in his anointing. I needed that.”
Oyelowo has had supporting roles in movies from RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, LEE DANIELS’ THE BUTLER and even last year’s INTERSTELLAR and A MOST VIOLENT YEAR.
SELMA was produced by Oprah Winfrey and co-produced by Brad Pitt under his production company Plan B Entertainment. The movie has received nearly universal praise from critics, especially David Oyelowo’s performance, although some historians have come against SELMA’s portrayal of President Lyndon B. Johnson, believing that the movie unfairly paints President Johnson as an obstacle to the civil rights movement (a claim the filmmakers dispute).
Though the situation of racial inequality was very different in 1965, the message is just as relevant today. The Rev. King was an example of the change that can happen through non-violence. In fact, behavior grounded in Christian faith is what drew David Oyelowo to the part.
In his conversation with Movieguide®, David added, “The layers built, as he was a man of faith, and that was the engine for him. His non-violence was a movement; for him, the engine was the example of Jesus Christ, in terms of sacrificial love. I had that connection with him and that was what made me gravitate towards him.”
– Sources: Movieguide® and The Huffington Post, 1216/14.