Actor David Oyelowo was left speechless after receiving glowing feedback for his feature-length directorial debut The Water Man from his filmmaking idol Steven Spielberg.
The Selma star steps behind the camera for the new project, about a boy who embarks on a quest to find the mythical title character when his mother falls ill with cancer, and he sent the finished movie to Spielberg in the hopes of impressing the man behind his childhood favourite, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.
However, Oyelowo, who also portrays the kid’s dad, didn’t expect the director to be so full of praise for his work.
“I managed to get my film to him. He watched The Water Man and wrote back to me, and said, ‘You’re a fine director and a really good storyteller,'” he recalled on America’s The Drew Barrymore Show as he shared the story with the child star of E.T. I was just like, ‘Oh, my goodness! Life is so weird!'”
Winning Spielberg’s approval was a big bonus for Oyelowo, who was already feeling blessed to have another Hollywood mogul on board as an executive producer in Oprah Winfrey, his co-star in The Butler and Selma, which she also produced.
“My relationship with her began with us playing mother and son (in The Butler), and that relationship sort of bled beyond being in front of the camera,” he explained.
“She just continued to be a sort of mother figure in my life, a great source of advice for me, advocacy for me, encouragement for me. We share a sensibility and she’s just been one of my life’s greatest blessings…
“And then in terms of The Water Man, it was something… I told her I was passionate about, and she said, ‘Look, I’m gonna do everything I can to help you realise this dream.'”
The Water Man co-stars Lonnie Chavis as the young lead, with Rosario Dawson playing his movie mother. The cast also boasts Alfred Molina and Maria Bello.
– Cover Media