06/02/2015 11:19 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

David Oyelowo: 'I Won't Do Roles That I Deem To Be Stereotypical'

Christopher Polk via Getty Images

After playing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the Oscar-nominated film “Selma,” actor David Oyelowo wants all casting directors to know one thing: “Don't send me your script if you want me to play the black best friend; I just won't do that.”

Oyelowo’s direct statement was made during a recent interview with NPR, in which the British actor shared his thoughts on acting and passing on roles that he feels feed into racial stereotypes.

He stated that he'd much rather “work in a supermarket” than take a role he didn’t believe in. The 39-year-old also explained the responsibility he feels as an actor to help shape culture.

“I'm either part of the solution or I'm part of the problem. So I won't do that; I won't do roles that I deem to be stereotypical or caricatures of what it is to be black or even just to be a human being,” he said.

“I won't do that… I know that films affect and shape culture, and I want to put stuff in the world that I feel is edifying as opposed to stuff that is detrimental.”

Check out more of David Oyelowo’s NPR interview in the clip below.



"Selma" Premiere