Lawmen: Bass Reeves star David Oyelowo reflects on the "emotionally exhausting" role

david oyelewo, lawmen bass reeves
Lawmen: Bass Reeves star on "exhausting" roleParamount+
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Lawmen: Bass Reeves minor spoilers follow.

Lawmen: Bass Reeves star David Oyelowo has reflected on taking the "emotionally exhausting" role.

The Western series is based on the life of the real Bass Reeves, a freed slave who became one of the first Black deputy US Marshalls following the Civil War.

The former Les Misérables star spoke to Digital Spy about the physical and emotional toll of playing the lawman, especially as he had to film in some real locations where slavery once took place.

"The most challenging part has been stamina. Playing Bass is a very physically demanding role," he told us prior to the SAG-AFTRA strike. "It’s also an emotionally demanding role. Shooting on plantations where enslaved people were actually kept is an incredibly emotionally exhausting thing to put yourself through.

david oyelewo, lauren banks, lawmen bass reeves

"Sitting in this history, and telling the truth of it, you have to give yourself over to some of the very difficult things Black people were subjected to in this country at that time. And that is emotionally quite debilitating, if I’m being honest.

"That’s been the hardest and most surprising thing. I’m just so glad that in our narrative, Bass doesn’t stay there. He doesn’t stay enslaved, he doesn’t stay subjugated by the character played brilliantly by Shea Whigham, the likes of George Reeves, in the show.”

David also shared his pride over how committed the Lawmen: Bass Reeves team were to honouring the real history.

"The most rewarding element is watching hundreds of people come together from a place of passion so desirous to get the story right," he said. "There’s barely anyone on this set from top to bottom who isn’t genuinely excited, genuinely keeping themselves accountable to doing a good job in order to tell the story well.

lauren e banks, david oyelewo , lawmen bass reeves

"For me, one of the most moving things generally is when a group of people come together with a common goal in order to achieve something beautiful, and I think that’s really something that I’m seeing evidenced here.”

Originally pitched as a spin-off of Yellowstone prequel 1883, Lawmen: Bass Reeves now exists in its own TV universe while still overseen by Yellowstone boss Taylor Sheridan.

The series also features Fortitude's Dennis Quaid as Deputy US Marshall Sherrill Lynn, Pet Sematary: Bloodlines's Forrest Goodluck as young Cherokee man Billy Crow and King Richard's Demi Singleton as Bass Reeves's daughter Sally.

Lawmen: Bass Reeves releases with episodes 1 & 2 on Paramount+ on November 5, with more episodes released weekly.

You Might Also Like