A United Kingdom
by director Amma Asante
When David Oyelowo approached me to direct A United Kingdom, I was fascinated by the story of Seretse Khama and Ruth Williams. What a sweeping, beautiful love story! I could immediately envision the movie I wanted to make and knew I wanted, and needed, to do justice to their lives. Seretse and Ruth stood up to enormous power not just so they could be together, but so they could show the world what democracy means.
I am drawn to stories from the past that help to illuminate the time we currently live in. The real-life characters in both A United Kingdom and my last film, Belle, push the boundaries of what society deems acceptable and ultimately show us examples of acceptance and the universality of the human condition. My creative focus lies at the intersection of human passion and history, in deeply personal stories that exist against a political landscape.
Both films deal with interracial relationships, justice, and race, but the defining characteristic of each story is really love—Belle and A United Kingdom are love letters to love. The power of love is as important to me as the political climates that each of these films reflects, and it is essential to successfully depict that. David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike were a perfect match. Along with the stunning cinematography and the 108 sets the production team created, David and Rosamund’s performances really weave the film together.
It was a joy to reunite with David after casting him so long ago in my first television series “Brothers and Sisters.” In addition to giving such a wonderful performance, his work as producer, along with Rick McCallum’s, was instrumental in our film being made. Rosamund really understood the challenges Sertese and Ruth faced and was eager to bring truth and authenticity to their story. She has made a commitment to strong female characters, which made her an irresistible choice to play Ruth.
I am incredibly grateful to have had the privilege to bring A United Kingdom to the screen. I hope audiences learn as much from it as I have, and that Seretse and Ruth’s story continues to live on.