Saturday 24 August 2019

David Oyelowo hails Disney for Uganda-set Queen Of Katwe

David Oyelowo and Lupita Nyong'o at the LA premiere of Queen Of Katwe (Invision/AP)
David Oyelowo and Lupita Nyong'o at the LA premiere of Queen Of Katwe (Invision/AP)

David Oyelowo has admitted he was surprised Disney decided to set his latest film in the slums of Uganda.

The British actor stars alongside Lupita Nyong'o in Queen Of Katwe, which is based on the true story of Ugandan chess prodigy Phiona Mutesi.

At the film's premiere in Los Angeles, Oyelowo said it was rare to see a "positive, life-affirming story" from Africa on the big screen and the movie was a "love letter" to his daughter Zoe.

He told the Press Association: "From page one when I saw Disney on the cover, I just couldn't believe Disney were making this movie.

"That in and of itself caught my attention because these kind of films are normally independent movies that are a real struggle to get made."

He added: "A story about this young girl from a slum in Uganda who becomes a champion. I haven't seen that kind of story coming out of Africa.

"The last film I did in Uganda was The Last King Of Scotland, a very different kind of film. As someone of African descent, to see a positive life-affirming story like this was something I really wanted to be a part of."

Oyelowo, who now lives in Los Angeles, said he had brought his family to the premiere, adding: "My daughter - who I did this as a love letter to - is here as well. My little Zoe.

"It's the first time I've ever done a film that I can take my entire family to."

Nyong'o, who stars as Phiona's mother, said the film was about a "small girl with a big dream".

"At the end of the day it doesn't take big people to make big things happen," she said.

"It takes regular folk and Phiona is one of those people. She's just a regular girl living in abject poverty and she makes some out of herself by playing chess and she's given me a job."

Queen Of Katwe is released in UK cinemas on October 21.

PA Media

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