David Oyelowo is one black actor who’s been able to keep himself constantly employed, despite the well-publicized struggles of other black actors over the years. Since I was first introduced to his work in the 2006 drama “Shoot the Messenger,” he’s appeared in numerous projects, often more than a few each year, on both sides of the pond.
Taking a look at his slate, he’s clearly an actor in demand, while also producing work for himself, not relying solely on the “kindness of others” to ensure that he’s always working.
Last month, HBO Films picked up the indie drama feature “Nightingale,” which stars Oyelowo, and set its premiere for May 29, 2015.
This news came just a few days after Paramount Pictures announced that it had acquired another one of several projects on David Oyelowo’s post-“Selma” slate, “Captive,” for a September 18, 2015 theatrical release. One can only assume that the actor’s raised profile, thanks to “Selma,” was of influence on these fresh pickups (“Nightingale” especially is a project we first alerted you to in 2013; so it’s around for a little while).
“Nightingale” is backed by BN Films (the same company behind “Captive” by the way) – a young, well-funded international production company based in Santa Monica, CA and Mexico City, run by Alex Garcia and Lucas Akoskin, said to be 2 of Latin America’s most prolific young producers, with plans to offer a slate of films in all languages, aimed at both the domestic U.S. and international markets.
BN Films says it will self-finance 6 to 12 films a year, working initially with a $150-million production fund. On the collective resume of both Garcia and Akoskin are titles like “Tropa de Elite” (“Elite Squad”), winner of more than 30 awards, including the prestigious Berlinale Golden Bear; Guillermo Arriaga’s acclaimed “The Burning Plain,” starring Charlize Theron and Kim Basinger; Shelter, starring Julianne Moore; “Ceremony,” starring Uma Thurman; “The House of My Father,” starring Will Ferrell, Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal; and more.
In “Nightingale,” Oyelowo plays a character named Peter Snowden, described as a man obsessing over an old army friend, whom he loves, as his life begins to spiral downward, with their reunion approaching. The film follows Peter as he records his private thoughts and feelings – his nightingale song – in the days leading up to his reunion with Edward. Before long, the hostile world outside Peter’s door begins to threaten the idyllic future that he’s so desperately trying to build.
In literature, the nightingale often represents melancholy and joy, love and loss, life and death. In mythology, all species of bird typically represent a departed soul. Nightingales particularly suggest love and longing.
It’s a one-man show, as Oyelowo carries the entire film solo. Meaning, he’s the only actor for the entire length of the film, in what some are calling a tour-de-force. Unfortunately, I have yet to see the film, so I can’t offer any useful commentary here; but we know the actor’s work, and of his work ethic, and I would expect nothing less than a strong performance from him – one that just might earn him a Primetime Emmy Award nomination in the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie category, in part given the challenge he took on in carrying an entire movie, entirely by himself, and what looks like a rather intense, vulnerable affair, as indicated in the new featurette provided by HBO, embedded below.
Elliott Lester directed the film from a script penned by Frederick Mensch – a Black List discovery.
Katrina Wolfe of BN Films and Josh Weinstock are producers.
Go behind the scenes with the new extended featurette that follows, and then watch a more recent trailer for the film underneath:
And here’s the trailer: