David Oyelowo Shares Thoughts on Backlash Over Cynthia Erivo's Casting in 'Harriet'

When presented with the issue in an interview on 'The Red Pill Podcast', the 'Selma' actor compares it to Rami Malek's casting as Freddie Mercury and Meryl Streep's as Margaret Thatcher.

AceShowbiz - David Oyelowo has defend his fellow Brit Cynthia Erivo's casting as African-American abolitionist Harriet Tubman.

The "Bad Times at the El Royale" actress, 32, has been a controversial choice to play the iconic anti-slavery activist in the upcoming movie "Harriet", as some are upset an African-American actress wasn't picked for the role.

David, who played another iconic U.S. civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., in the 2014 film "Selma", says only black actors face criticism for playing characters who are a different nationality.

"Should Rami Malek not have played Freddie Mercury? Should Meryl Streep not have played Margaret Thatcher in 'The Iron Lady'?" the 43-year-old said in an interview on "The Red Pill Podcast" with Van Lathan. "Rami Malek doesn't have to deal with this; Christian Bale is never going to have to deal with this in playing Dick Cheney (in 2018's "Vice"). Daniel Day-Lewis will never have to answer this question in playing (Abraham) Lincoln."

The "Black Panther" star went on to blame similar backlashes against black British stars as down to the limited opportunities actors of colour get to take on huge dramatic roles, and the resulting professional jealousy.

"Sometimes, I think that these conversations can be tied to, not just the character, but the potential, perceived or eventual success' of the project and performer," he explained. "If she goes on for that film to be a huge success and then she wins accolades for it and all of that, that conversation will only get bigger and this is where in my opinion, we've been killing ourselves."

Backing Cynthia to shine in the role, he added: "For me the conversation begins and ends with what you said about Cynthia, which is she's a great actress," he told Van. 'What is our job? What is my job as an actor? My job is to inhabit a character where I either convince you of the truth of that character or I don't. And it begins and ends there."

"Harriet" hits cinemas on November 1.

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