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).
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.
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.
In the below video, courtesy of USA Today, Oyelowo talks about the craft of acting, the importance of early training in the theatre (where he got his start) and how it helped made him fearless as an actor, being a black actor versus being an actor who wants to be challenged and move people with his performances (underneath go behind the scenes of “Nightingale” with an extended featurette):