A look at the trailer for A United Kingdom, the opener at this year’s London Film Festival, might give the impression that its star, David Oyelowo, is in serious danger of being typecast. After his star-making turn as Martin Luther King in Selma, he’s delivering more inspiring speeches as future ruler of Botswana, Seretse Khama.
But, as he revealed at the film’s press conference, the story about the relationship between Khama and his British wife, Ruth Williams, was an idea he championed himself. And he relentlessly pursued everybody he wanted to be involved in the project until they gave in. Even being knee deep in boxes as she moved house didn’t save director Amma Asante.
As well as Oyelowo and Assante, the line-up facing the press comprised Laura Carmichael, Tom Felton, Rosamund Pike, Jack Davenport and Jessica Oyelowo. Assante acknowledged that the number of women directors was growing, she was also emphatic that there was a long way to go. Davenport, on the other hand, couldn’t forget the heat while on location in Botswana – and the problems that went with wearing a large, feathered ceremonial hat. It’s all on the recording from the press conference below….
In the late 1940s, Prince Seretse Khama (David Oyelowo) of Bechuanaland (later to become Botswana) is studying in London when he meets and falls in love with Ruth Williams (Rosamund Pike). Despite opposition from their families and the British government, they marry and return to his homeland. Once there, they struggle to have their relationship accepted by his people and discover they are also caught up in the political fight for his succession to the throne and the country’s independence.
SEE ALSO: Read our review of A United Kingdom here
A United Kingdom opened the London Film Festival on 5th October. There are further screenings on 6th and 11th October and it opens in UK cinemas on 25th November.