David Oyelowo: Captive plays with prejudices

David Oyelowo and Kate Mara wanted to bring as much truth as possible to their respective roles in Captive.

David Oyelowo wanted to play on the audience’s prejudices by remaining silent for the first 25 minutes of his new movie.

The Selma actor plays real-life convict Brian Nichols, who holds Kate Mara’s character Ashley Smith hostage in her own home, in Captive. Brian had escaped prison and killed four people during the manhunt for him. David felt it was important to not speak in the initial scenes to allow the viewers to draw their own conclusions about the man in front of them.

“We wanted to do that to play on the audience’s prejudices. Because when you see a new story unfolding, you see a mugshot. You see freeze frames, and to be perfectly frank, you see a black man who is on the run, and it does all kinds of things in your mind especially in the world we live in today,” the Brit explained to Variety at the film’s screening. “And we wanted to show that without giving him personality or humanity in a sense. So that by the time you see him interact with Ashley, you see his humanity re-emerge.”

While David never got to spend time with Brian because of his imprisonment for the murders, Kate did get to know Ashley. But playing a real-life person comes with a lot of pressure, especially when it’s set in such traumatic circumstances.

“My biggest concern was telling her story truthfully,” she said. “I wasn’t interested in impersonating her in any way. The accent thing always helps though as David knows - as an actor it’s part of your costume. So I was kind of studying her voice when we spent that day together.”

The stars were joined at the screening by Ashley and Brian’s mother Claritha, and David admitted feeling anxious about meeting her.

“There’s no way I could get to him [Brian],” David added about his own preparations. “So what you see is very much from talking to Ashley about that night and the trial that took place afterwards and the book. So I was nervous about meeting you, Mrs. Nichols. That’s your baby there that I’m playing and I didn’t get to meet him.”

© Cover Media