David Oyelowo

David Oyelowo


4/1/1976, Oxford

Birth Name


out of 10
User Rating
14 votes


David's family originates from Nigeria.

David says he "fell into acting" when a girl he fancied at church asked him to go to the theatre with her. What he thought was a date turned out to be a theatre group at The National Theatre.



Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • In 2000 David won an Ian Charleson Award for best newcomer for his portrayal of Henry VI for the RSC.

    • In March-April 2007 David played the role of Prometheus in the play Prometheus Bound for the Aquila Theatre Company.

    • In July 2003 David had a book published called Henry VI (Actors on Shakespeare, in which he wrote about playing the role for the RSC.

    • David and his wife Jessica were central to establishing the Brighton International Faith Centre, a religious group that often held meetings in their home.

  • Quotes

    • David: (on moving to to Los Angeles) ) I'd prefer to live there (the UK), but I'm not one for sitting on my laurels. To do this at the highest level, you have to be here. You think moving to America is going to be a smooth transition because we share a language. But it's an entirely different culture, with entirely different sets of red tape.

    • David: (his thoughts on the script for Shoot the Messenger) My first thought when I read it was how brave of the BBC to be making this, secondly that this is a real hot potato, thirdly that there are going to be people that dismiss it without seeing it because of the issues it raises, but also that I desperately wanted to be involved.

    • David: (on his character Joe in Shoot the Messenger)
      I don't think he's always a particularly sympathetic character and that's what I love about him. He's a human being, a three dimensional human being who at times we like, at times we hate, at times we misunderstand and at times we understand.

    • David: (on playing Matt Wellings in Five Days) We have all either experienced the death of loved ones, or know people who have, and very often people will say they laughed or they didn't cry for two years and then had a breakdown, or they cried there and then – there is no set way that we, as human beings, deal with grief.

    • David: (on how he got into acting)
      I only got into acting because I fancied this girl who was in the youth theatre. They were short of boys so she invited me to go along and I realised I enjoyed acting. I couldn't believe that acting was such fun because I didn't associate work with fun. I also had an inspirational A-level theatre studies teacher who encouraged me to go to drama school.

    • David:(on living in Nigeria)
      People here don't realise how privileged our society is. Even if you're wealthy in Nigeria, you're surrounded by grinding poverty. I was also shocked by the lack of respect for education here. In Nigeria, you pay through the nose for a good school. Here, the kids don't take advantage of the good free education."

    • David: I think there's so much back-handed criticism that seems to say: "Isn't it great how good they are - considering they're black".

    • David: I was doing an emotional scene where I had to break down and I was terrified because all the crew and other actors were there so I asked him if everyone could leave so I could shoot the scene and he agreed. I didn't appreciate until much later that this was an unorthodox thing for an actor to ask and many directors wouldn't have agreed to it.