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Yellowstone spin-off star David Oyelowo talks "empowered" Bass Reeves role

david oyelowo, lawmen bass reeves
Yellowstone spin-off star talks "empowering" roleParamount+

Lawmen: Bass Reeves star David Oyelowo has described his role as the titular character as “empowering”.

The actor will play the Deputy US Marshal in the spin-off to 1883, which itself is an offshoot from Paramount’s Yellowstone.

Ahead of the premiere for Lawmen this November, Oyelowo teased his role as the iconic figure, who was reportedly an inspiration for The Lone Ranger, and outlined his hopes for the series.

david oyelowo, lawmen bass reeves
Paramount+

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“My goal, hope and ambition for this has always been to have an opportunity to contextualise the contribution of Black people to this country in a way that colours outside of the lines of what we have normally seen,” he told Entertainment Weekly, in an interview conducted prior to the SAG-AFTRA strike.

“I really hope people come away [with], and have a reframing and an acceptance of the fact that, even though it was under duress, Black people were so instrumental in building this country.

“This [story] is one of empowerment, and he takes that power and he uses it for the good of his community and his country. And that's really what I hope people are left with at the end of the show.”

Oyelowo, who has previously appeared in Selma and See How They Run, continued by describing the real-life figure as “extraordinary”, with his path from enslavement to law enforcement being almost unprecedented at the time.

david oyelewo, lawmen bass reeves
Paramount+

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“He was an extraordinary man who lived an extraordinary life at an extraordinary time in America's history,” he said. “When you contextualise that life with these seminal moments in American history — slavery, Reconstruction, Jim Crow — to have that level of success and notoriety as a lawman is just extraordinary.”

Lawmen also stars Dennis Quaid, Forrest Goodluck, Barry Pepper, Garrett Hedlund and Lauren E Banks, with the eight-episode season premiering on Paramount+ on November 5.

Yellowstone and its spin-offs stream on Paramount+.

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