David Oyelowo On ‘Gringo,’ Working With Charlize Theron & Joel Edgerton [VIDEO EXCLUSIVE]
David Oyelowo seems to have had a good time working on the set of Gringo, Amazon Studios’ new crime comedy that takes place on both sides of the US-Mexico border.
The 41-year-old British-Nigerian actor discussed his role in the film and more in an exclusive interview with uInterview.
Oyelowo — who has generally starred in dramas like The Butler, Jack Reacher and A United Kingdom — now plays good-natured American businessman Harold Soyinka, who works for a Chicago-based pharmaceutical company and is sent to Mexico for business but ends up being kidnapped by drug cartels, mercenaries and other dangerous people. Hilarity ensues as the terrified Harold attempts to stay alive and return home safely.
Oyelowo described his character and the plot of the film and also revealed some funny or interesting moments that happened on set.
“I play Harold Soyinka in this film, he works for a pharmaceutical company in Chicago, and he’s been promised a promotion by his bosses in the shape of Joel Edgerton and Charlize Theron,” he explained. “He goes on an inventory run down to Mexico, only to find out that not only is he not getting a promotion, but the company is about to be sold. This leads to him making some pretty bad and desperate decisions, which means his bosses, a group of mercenaries and the cartels come chasing after him across Mexico.”
The movie — which was directed by Edgerton’s brother Nash Edgerton — also stars Amanda Seyfried, Thandie Newton and Sharlto Copley.
When asked if he could relate to his character in any way, Oyelowo simply laughed and said he hopes to never land in any plight that even remotely resembles Harold’s in Gringo.
“Oh my goodness, I hope I never have to even contemplate being in a situation similar to the one that Harold encounters in this film,” he said. “I personally wouldn’t know how to react. And that to a certain degree is what attracted me to the film, is watching this guy navigate these extreme and absurd circumstances which lead to (in my opinion anyway) hilarious situations.”
Oyelowo also revealed that Theron and Joel Edgerton’s characters in the film — big pharmaceutical executives — are “despicable,” and revealed his two co-stars made clear to others in the cast and crew that they are nothing like those people in real life.
“What was so funny was that after each take, having said terrible things about me or about Mexicans or about whoever… They are just so inappropriate, they felt the need to apologize to the crew and myself after virtually every take because they are playing characters that are pretty antithetical to who they are in real life.”
Oyelowo revealed how he first started acting. He stated that he attended drama school in the U.K., and that he auditioned for a television role that required him to know how to rollerblade.
“This was my first job, I wasn’t going to say, ‘I’ve never rollerbladed in my life,'” explained Oyelowo. “So I suddenly had to get a pair of rollerblades, learn as much as I could, and we finally came to the day of filming it and I had to rollerblade across a freeway. I nearly killed myself, so don’t do that kids, whatever you do.”