David Oyelowo points out Hollywood hypocrisy as he defends Harriet Tubman cast
David Oyelowo has defended the casting of fellow Brit Cynthia Erivo as African-American hero Harriet Tubman, insisting that white actors are never questioned for their film choices.
David, who was criticised for playing Martin Luther King Jr. in the 2014 film Selma said that Christian Bale or Daniel Day-Lewis will never be hounded by their decisions to play characters of different nationalities to their own and that the criticism is in part because of a lack of opportunities for black actors and jealousy.
‘Should Rami Malek not have played Freddie Mercury? Should Meryl Streep not have played Margaret Thatcher in Iron Lady?’ said David.
‘Rami Malek doesn’t have to deal with this; Christian Bale is never going to have to with this in playing Dick Cheney [in 2018’s Vice]. Daniel Day-Lewis will never have to answer this question in playing [Abraham] Lincoln [in 2012’s Lincoln].’
Both Christian and Daniel are British actors, while Rami is American; Freddie Mercury was British.
Speaking to The Red Pill Podcast with Van Lathan, he added: ‘Sometimes, I think that these conversations can be tied to, not just the character, but the potential, perceived or eventual success.
‘If she goes on for that film to be a huge success and then she wins accolades for it and all of that, that conversation will only get bigger and this is where in my opinion, we’ve been killing ourselves.’
Emmy award winner Cynthia hit back at critics who slammed her casting as legendary abolitionist Harriet Tubman in the long-awaited biopic.
The feature film, which is simply titled Harriet, follows Tubman on her 1849 escape from slavery and her mission to free slaves through the Underground Railroad just before the American Civil War.
While landing the role should have been a celebratory moment for the British Tony award winner, it was tainted by a flood of complaints from African-Americans and some Black Americans who felt the 31-year-old was an inappropriate casting because of her Nigerian-British heritage.
Taking to her Instagram page to respond Cynthia admitted ‘there is a bigger conversation to be had about heritage and experience, also about who Harriet really was’.
‘That can not be had in an Instagram post, what I will say is that my journey to this woman has been long and detailed and one I have not taken lightly.’
Cynthia is an Oscar away from becoming the youngest person to achieve EGOT status.
A potential Oscar win could mean she joins an exclusive club of performers who have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony.
Harriet, which also stars Leslie Odom Jr and Janelle Monae, is set for release on 1 November in the US.
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