The Water Man released in theaters yesterday and is critically acclaimed actor David Oyelowo’s first feature film as a director. Oyelowo starred in the family adventure drama alongside Rosario Dawson, Lonnie Chavis, and Amiah Miller. The film follows the son of Oyelowo’s character, Gunner, as he dangerously searches for the titular local legend in the hopes of saving his mother (Dawson) from her battle with cancer.
While The Water Man focuses on the subject of death, Oyelowo hopes the film leaves families with a reason to celebrate the time they have together.
“I think [I want people to walk away knowing] to celebrate life rather than bemoan how finite it is,” Oyelowo explained to ComingSoon.net. “In this film, we see a kid who’s desperately trying to reverse time and reverse what is a very difficult impending loss for him. It’s completely understandable, but at the end of the day, the reality is, and especially now we know in the wake of the pandemic, we are not promised tomorrow. We don’t know what the future holds. And so, the thing to really spend our energy and time doing is loving those we love and loving them hard, and being present with them. Not taking them for granted because there’s so many things we can’t control, but one of the few things we can is loving those who are right there with us while they are with us.”
Oyelowo’s experience as a father and son led to his attachment to the script and ultimately led to him directing a feature film for the first time.
“I was able to identify not just the father role because I’m now a dad, but I also really identified with Gunner. As a child who growing up would’ve done anything for my parents because of how much I love them and because of how much they love me. I also think that the central theme of the film, which in many ways is sacrificial love, and seeing that acted out and embodied by this 11-year-old, is I think human being’s greatest attributes. I just loved seeing that through the eyes of an 11-year-old. I think it’s a true sort of hero’s journey for him, and that’s something that I think is aspirational. I think to see this family where love is the driving force for them overcoming some of these obstacles is also inspirational.”
The Water Man is out now in theaters.