David Oyelowo on How He Played a King for ‘A United Kingdom’

In A United Kingdom, David Oyelowo portrays the real-life Seretse Khama, an African king who fell in love with an English woman named Ruth Williams (portrayed by Rosamund Pike) despite criticisms from her family, his people, and even the British government. While Oyelowo is no stranger to playing roles with high gravity, playing someone of royal blood facing the criticism of his people over the woman he loves required a different approach than many of Oyelowo’s usual roles.

David Oyelowo on Staying in Character During Filmming

In a video for the New York Times, Oyelowo explains how he approached a key scene in which Seretse has to give a speech defending himself to his people. Oyelowo explains, “I felt in giving this speech there should be a stillness to him. Stillness gives status. He would often have his hands behind his back, almost as a sign of respect and deference, but he still managed to have this regal bearing.”

You can watch the full video of Oyelowo’s explanation above.