Like so many children of the ’80s, David Oyelowo had a passion for fantasy coming-of-age films like “The Goonies” and “E.T.,” but lamented that fewer of those films are being made these days. Now he has a chance to rectify that with “The Water Man,” his directorial debut which is premiering at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival.
“I was only going to be starring and producing it initially, but we actually lost our original director and it was Emma Needell, who wrote the film and worked with us on developing the film for four years who said ‘I think you should be the one to make this,'” Oyelowo told TheWrap’s Steve Pond.
“The Water Man” stars Lonnie Chavis as a boy whose mother (Rosario Dawson) has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. At a loss for what to do next, he goes in search of the fabled Water Man, who, according to urban legends, was able to cheat death. Joining him on the adventure is an alienated girl (Amiah Miller) with whom he forms an unlikely friendship.
“[Lonnie] immediately felt like a little brother to me,” Miller said. “I cherish our friendship so much and I hope we can work together again. I’m so proud of him. He was so amazing in this film and when I first saw it I texted him and told him how proud I was!”
For more thoughts from Oyelowo, Miller and Chavis, including how they brought Madagascar hissing roaches on set, check out the clip above.