One Role In ‘Lawmen: Bass Reeves’ Scared Almost Every Actor Away From The Show

(Photo by Michael TRAN / AFP) (Photo by MICHAEL TRAN/AFP via Getty Images)/(Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images for Paramount+)

Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
Font Size:

Star of “Lawmen: Bass Reeves,” David Oyelowo, said Thursday that there was one role in the series that scared away almost all actors.

Fresh off the finale of the Taylor Sheridan-produced show, Oyelowo should absolutely be glowing for his expert work on one of the most important stories in American history. “Lawmen: Bass Reeves” tells part of the life story of the first ever black U.S. marshal to work west of the Mississippi, a man who arrested more than 3,000 outlaws without ever being shot.

“I feel full to the brim with joy at the fact that the show has done the thing that I hoped and anticipated it would but was constantly being told it was unlikely to do, which is resonate with a global audience,” he told The Wrap. Oyelowo, who was born to Nigerian immigrant parents and grew up on a council estate in London, seemed surprised he finally got to live out his childhood dream of being a cowboy. But not everything in the Paramount+ series was easy.

Apparently no one wanted to take on the role of George Reeves, Bass Reeves‘ master on the show. But then Shea Whigham came along. “I cannot tell you how many actors expressed real trepidation, fear, and if I’m totally honest and in my opinion, cowardice, in relation to that role because it’s uncomfortable. Yes, you have to go to dark places. Yes, you have to say unconscionable things, but that’s what we do as actors,” Oyelowo said of the character.

“The darkness must be present in order for you to see the light. And I just feel like what Shea did was so selfless because it took a massive toll on him. He was not in a good place for having to do those things, say those things, sit in that place. From a historical point of view, he’s antithetical to that person, obviously in real life. But boy, did he know what the cost was that he was prepared to pay in order to tell the truth of that character. And I will just forever be grateful to him for that,” he noted. (RELATED: Are You A Real-Life Roughneck? ‘Yellowstone’ Creator Wants You For His Next Show)

The finale of “Lawmen: Bass Reeves” aired Sunday, and it was epic. In fact, it was so good that I hope to find time to go back and rewatch the entire series from start to finish. And I highly recommend you do the same.