David Oyelowo (pronounced “oh-yellow-oh”), is a classically trained stage actor who has quickly become one of Hollywood’s most sought-after talents. He graduated from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA), and received the “Scholarship for Excellence” from Nicholas Hytner in 1998.
David recently starred as Martin Luther King Jr. in Paramount’s drama ‘Selma,’ directed by Ava DuVernay. He was also seen in Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi adventure ‘Interstellar,’ J.C. Chandor’s crime drama ‘A Most Violent Year’ and Simon Brand’s thriller ‘Default.’
Additional film credits include Lee Daniel’s ‘The Butler,’ Steven Spielberg’s Academy Award nominated drama ‘Lincoln,’ the critically acclaimed independent drama, ‘The Middle of Nowhere,’ which earned David individual NAACP Image Awards and Independent Spirit Awards nominations; ‘Jack Reacher,’ opposite Tom Cruise, Lee Daniels’ ‘The Paperboy,’ the British made for television movie ‘Complicit,’ George Lucas’ produced bio-pic, ‘Red Tails,’ which won “Best Motion Picture” at the 2013 NAACP Image Awards; ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes,’ the Academy Award nominated drama ‘The Help,’ ’96 Minutes,’ Kevin MacDonald’s ‘The Last King of Scotland,’ Who Do You Love,’ in which he played the iconic Muddy Waters; ‘A Sound of Thuner,’ ‘Derailed’ and ‘Shoot the Messenger.’
David recently wrapped production on Paramount’s ‘Captive’ and the independent drama, ‘Five Nights in Maine.’ He serves as a producer on both films as well. David will also star in ‘Nina,’ a biographical drama focused on late musician Nina Simone (played by Zoe Saldana) and her relationship with her manager, Clifton Henderson (Oyelowo). His next project is ‘Queen of Katwe’ opposite Lupita Nyong’o.
With an extensive theatre background, Oyelowo played the title role of ‘Henry VI,’ becoming the first black actor to play an English king for the Royal Shakespeare Company. The role won him The Ian Charleson Award and an Evening Standard award nomination. Other theatre credits include an acclaimed performance in Richard Bean’s ‘The God Botherers’ at the Bush Theatre and the title role in Aeschylus’ ‘Prometheus Bound,’ which was off-Broadway and for which David received rave reviews.
Beyond theatre, David starred in the BAFTA award-winning series ‘Spooks/MI:5’ playing Danny Hunter. ‘MI:5’ also aired in the U.S. on BBC America. Additionally, he won the Royal Television Society Award for Best Actor and was also nominated for a BAFTA for the same role for his work on ‘Small Island.’ David also starred in the BBC1 original television movie ‘Born Equal,’ opposite Colin Firth as well as ABC’s 2008 production of ‘A Raisin in the Sun,’ alongside Sanaa Lathan and Sean Combs.
No stranger to HBO, David made his U.S. debut in two HBO productions and went on for a third. First starring in the Kenneth Branagh-directed ‘As You Like It,’ in which he played Orlando opposite Bryce Dallas Howard, which aired in August 2006. In October of the same year he was again seen on HBO as the lead in the mini-series ‘Five Days,’ for which he won the Satellite Award for Best Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television for his performance. In 2008, David starred in the acclaimed adaptation of the Alexander McCall Smith novel, ‘The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency’ directed by the late Anthony Minghella.
Elliott Lester (director) is a multi-disciplinary director with a deep love for storytelling in all its forms. He began his career as an award-winning music video and commercial director, taking home Clios, Telly Awards and Cannes Lions for his work. Lester has done work for major brands including McDonald's, Lexus and Sony, and has directed iconic videos for artists including 30 Seconds to Mars, The Fray and Santigold. In 2006 Lester made his theatrical filmmaking debut with the ensemble feature ‘Love is the Drug,’ starring the talented Lizzy Caplan, which premiered at Sundance. He followed up with the Jason Statham/Paddy Considine starrer ‘Blitz’ for Lionsgate in 2011. ‘Chop Shop,’ a digital series which he directed and produced for Paramount Insurge and the Bandito Brothers, was released in early 2014 by Machinima. Elliott’s third feature ‘Nightingale’ was produced by Brad Pitt’s Plan B and stars Golden Globe nominee David Oyelowo. The film premieres on May 29 and has received two Critic’s Choice nominations. In 2015, Lester completed his fourth feature film ‘Sleepwalker,’ starring Ahna O’Reilly and Richard Armitage. As well as directing, he also recently produced two feature films: ‘Basmati Blues’ which stars the award winning Brie Larson and Donald Sutherland, as well as ‘Captive,’ which stars David Oyelowo and Kate Mara which will be distributed by Paramount on September 15, 2015. Lester resides in Los Angeles with his young son Levi.
Frederick Mensch (writer) is a Chicago-based screenwriter, playwright and web developer. His stageplay ‘Father’ premiered at this year’s Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival, and his screenplay ‘Supreme Ruler’ is in development with Ron Livingston, Marcia Gay Harden and Vincent D’Onofrio attached to star. In an earlier career he worked as a race track tout, and his dog racing novel ‘The Inside Dope’ is available for purchase on Amazon.com.