Long before David Oyelowo ever thought about becoming an actor, he says certain kinds of movies captivated his boyhood imagination, films that told stories of kids like him that mixed grand adventures with grounded reality.
“Films like ‘E.T.’, ‘The Goonies,’ ‘Stand By Me,’ are the films I loved growing up,” Oyelowo says. “And really were formative for me in terms of the narrative that I felt reflected my experience as a young person.”
Years later, as a father, the versatile British-Nigerian actor best known for his portrayal of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in “Selma,” says he looked for similar movies to share with his four kids and realized that the kind of movies he’d loved in the ’80s weren’t getting made much anymore.
Then, in 2015, Oyelowo discovered screenwriter Emma Needell’s script for “The Water Man” when it landed on The Black List, the annual ranking of the year’s best-unproduced screenplays.
Lonnie Chavis as Gunner Boone, left, with David Oyelowo as Amos Boone in the adventure/drama film, “The Water Man.” (Photo courtesy of Karen Ballard)
Lonnie Chavis as Gunner Boone, left, David Oyelowo as Amos Boone, and Rosario Dawson as Mary Boone in the adventure/drama film, “The Water Man.” (Photo courtesy of Karen Ballard)
Actor-director David Oyelowo directs Lonnie Chavis on location for the adventure/drama “The Water Man,” the film with which Oyelowo makes his directorial debut. (Photo courtesy of Karen Ballard)
David Oyelowo as Amos Boone and Rosario Dawson as Mary Boone in the adventure/drama film, “The Water Man.” (Photo courtesy of Karen Ballard)
Alfred Molina as Jim Bussey and David Oyelowo as Amos Boone in the adventure/drama film, “The Water Man.” (Photo courtesy of Karen Ballard)
Amiah Miller as Jo Riley in the adventure/drama film, “The Water Man.” (Photo courtesy of Karen Ballard)
Actor David Oyelowo stars in “The Water Man,” which also marks his directorial debut. It’s the story of a boy played by Lonnie Chavis who goes into the deep forests of Oregon searching for a legendary figure known as the Water Man in hopes that he can find a way to save his cancer-stricken mother. (Image courtesy of RLJE Films)
Maria Bello as Sheriff Goodwin in the adventure/drama film, “The Water Man.” (Photo courtesy of Karen Ballard)
Alfred Molina as Jim Bussey in the adventure/drama film, “The Water Man.” (Photo courtesy of Karen Ballard)
Actor-director David Oyelowo directs a scene on location for the adventure/drama “The Water Man,” the film with which Oyelowo makes his directorial debut. (Photo courtesy of Karen Ballard)
“It was something I became very passionate about, but at that point, it was purely as a producer and as an actor,” says Oyelowo, who’d never directed before.
Then as 2018 rolled into 2019, “The Water Man” was set to film that summer with Lonnie Chavis, best known from the TV series “This Is Us” as its young hero, but the project lost its director.
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