My Interview with David Oyelowo about His New Film 'Captive'
Life, sometimes, can feel stranger than fiction. One never knows what God will do. And when we truly surrender the course of our lives into the hands of Christ, He opens some wildly unexpected doors.
For example, in 2012 I went to Ghana -- to its capital Accra -- to do some ministry with my friend Dr. Kodjoe Sumney, a native Ghanian who had established powerful humanitarian work in Ghana. I will never forget how, in the course of 48 hours, how God opened doors. One day we were in the capital building meeting with Ghana's secretary of state. The next day we were in the bush meeting with villagers who had never seen a white person. Both meetings were critically important, and both changed my life.
Recently, a similar thing happened. Over the course of a mere 24-48 hours, God opened unexpected doors. One day I was speaking with actor David Oyelowo. He played Martin Luther King, Jr. in the much acclaimed film "Selma." He also had significant roles in other films like "Lee Daniels' The Butler," "Interstellar," and many others. (My personal favorite being the Kenneth Branagh Shakespeare film "As You Like It.") He's a wildly successful, internationally celebrated actor at the pinnacle of his career. But more than that, he is a devoted, sincere saved-by-faith-not-by-works Christian who loves Jesus with all of his heart.
The next day, after the interview, I found myself in a prison visiting room, sitting across from an inmate who is (maybe, in a worst case scenario) looking at over 20 years in prison. He became a Christian after going to prison, and, like David, he is also a devoted, sincere saved-by-faith-not-by-works Christian who loves Jesus with all of his heart.
Both conversations -- one with an A-list actor, the other with an inmate -- were equally life-changing and inspirational. In both cases, I felt as if I were talking to a long lost cousin -- a family member related by the blood of Jesus -- and the barriers between us, whether it was a protective glass barrier or a protective movie studio rep carefully guarding the actor's time in the interview, faded into the background.
In both cases, it was Jesus that mattered the most, and it was Jesus who was present the most. Everything else of this world -- the great successes and the great tragedies -- grow dim in the magnificent light of the King.
Although I can't share the entire interview with Mr. Oyelowo here because it was given exclusively to Rocking God's House, I can quote an excerpt of it. Below is my favorite part of the interview. After I ask him about the verse Phil. 4:8-9, David shares how God opened some wild doors for his new faith-themed movie 'Captive:'
Philippians 4:8-9 tells us to always focus on the good that God is doing. I’d like to end our interview by following that advice and just asking this question: what good things has God been doing in your life recently that have been encouraging, that you wouldn’t mind sharing?
This film seeing the light of day is an incredible encouragement. I actually made this film before “Selma,” and I had always felt — as a producer anyway — I wanted to wait for it to have the right platform. I went on to do “Selma,” that film did very well, gained me a notoriety that I didn’t have before, and “Selma” was distributed by Paramount. I know it was the success of “Selma” that enabled a studio of Paramount’s stature to be the one to now bring “Captive” to the world.
And, you know, a film like “Captive” is really my heart. This is the kind of movie I want to see out in the world because it’s not — what we tried to do — is not make a film that’s preachy but a film that’s real. Not shy away from the darkness but show that the light can overwhelm the darkness, and to reveal that in a true story, especially with someone like Ashley Smith whose life has gone on to be filled with purpose; and she attributes her salvation to God and her faith in Christ.
It’s incredible to me to see God blessing the work of my hands and the people around me by giving [Captive] a platform and amplification that it otherwise might not have had. That’s encouraging to me. That, to me, is what the Bible means when it says we go from faith to faith; God coming along and putting in rocket fuel like “Captive,” or even “Selma,” is what encourages you to keep going. And it goes back to the Parable of the Talents: when God has given you something, go and multiply it, invest in it. Don’t bring back the thing that He has given you. Bring back more. And He’s the one who grows it as you combine faith with hard work. So that’s what I see playing out in my life. It’s hugely encouraging, and it’s what inspires me to keep going.
To read the full interview -- and it really is worth the read because David describes his experience playing and preparing for the role of Brian Nichols -- check out the article here at Rocking God's House.
Image of David Oyelowo taken from Wikicommons with the following author information:
Author: Mingle Media TV
Info: Actor David Oyelowo at the 3rd Annual ICON MANN POWER 50 event on February 18, 2015
License granted: Creative Commons Share Alike
All other images taken from promotional materials for the film, including screenshots from the trailer and the movie poster.