David Oyelowo admits that there is one type of role he refuses to play in a film.
The Selma star told NPR that he has turned down parts in films that have called for him to emphasize stereotypes or play a caricature, especially if it’s a role defined by being the lead character’s “black best friend.”
“Don’t send me your script if you want me to play the black best friend,” Oyelowo said. “I just won’t do that.”
“You can feel when it’s literally an afterthought; you can feel when it’s like, ‘Oh quick, let’s get some color in here,’ ” he continued. “That I won’t do because it’s disrespectful and, for me, I’m either part of the solution, or I’m part of the problem.”
Oyelowo, who has also appeared in Rise of the Planet of the Apes and The Butler, is set to star with Rosamund Pike in racial drama A United Kingdom. His comments can be heard below, beginning at the 39.16 mark.