Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Oyelowo: Day-Lewis my inspiration

David Oyelowo was inspired by co-star Daniel Day-Lewis
David Oyelowo was inspired by co-star Daniel Day-Lewis

David Oyelowo has confessed that sharing a screen with Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln has proven a benchmark in his career.

The British actor plays a Union cavalryman in Steven Spielberg's Oscar-nominated historical biopic, and speaking at the Independent Spirit Awards, the 36-year-old said co-star Daniel was a "primary inspiration" in his acting career.

"It is a benchmark actually, it's a dream fulfilled because Daniel Day-Lewis has been a primary inspiration for me as an actor since I saw him in My Left Foot," he explained.

"So to act opposite him, not least with Steven Spielberg directing, in a film of that magnitude, was a real moment for me."

And he admitted he'd picked up a few tips from the famously dedicated actor.

"I learned about work ethic, I learned about immersion in a character, complete and total immersion, and I learned about diligence," he said.

"He's someone who has been operating at the top of his game for so long and yet there's no inkling of resting on his laurels so for me who's a relatively new actor it's just a great example."

David also revealed his recent roles have left him quite an expert on American history. As well as Lincoln, he had a role in war film Red Tails, and is set to appear in Lee Daniels' The Butler, which charts the beginning of the civil rights movement through the eyes of one family.

"I play the butler's son - Forest Whittaker plays the butler, Oprah Winfrey plays my mum, and it charts the birth of the civil rights movement in this country," David explained. "To get to do films like Lincoln, Red Tails, these films that are historical pieces and then bring it all together in the shape of The Butler is just amazing really.

But the Spooks star admitted there was one downside to his immersion in the history of America. "I know more about American history than I do British history now which is a really shameful thing to say, but it's true," he laughed.

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