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Netflix picks up David Oyelowo's directorial debut movie

David Oyelowo in Selma
(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

Actor David Oyelowo's feature directorial debut, The Water Man, is coming to Netflix later this year. 

The movie follows a boy called Gunner (played by This is Us actor Lonnie Chavis) who sets out on a quest to save his ill mother (Rosario Dawson). He joins forces with a mysterious local girl (Amiah Miller) to go in search of the Water Man, a mythical figure who holds the key to immortality. However, their journey soon becomes dangerous, and their only hope for rescue is Gunner’s father (Oyelowo). Alfred Molina and Maria Bello also star.

“While in some ways this film is a father and son story, at its core it’s also a love letter to mothers everywhere and is dedicated to my own,” Oyelowo said in a statement.  

The movie premiered at Toronto International Film Festival in 2020. At the time, Oyelowo told Variety: “The film is partly inspired by [the] films I grew up loving, like E.T. A lot of them directed by the amazing Steven Spielberg. But the truth of the matter is I didn’t see myself in those movies even though I related to those characters. So one of the amazing things for me is getting to make a film for a family that looks like mine, a boy who looks like I did and looks like my three sons get to be front and center.”

While this is Oyelowo's first time in the director's chair, he's got a wealth of experience in front of the camera. He's best known for his portrayal of Martin Luther King Jr. in the 2014 historical drama Selma. He recently starred in George Clooney's sci-fi drama The Midnight Sky, and we can next see him in Chaos Walking, alongside Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley. 

While we wait for The Water Man to hit the streamer, check out our list of the best Netflix movies to watch right now.

I’m an Entertainment Writer at GamesRadar+, covering everything film and TV-related across the Total Film and SFX sections – I help bring you all the latest news and the occasional feature, too. I’ve previously written for publications like HuffPost and i-D after getting my NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Journalism.