Check out 8 character posters from 'Gringo,' the new movie that put David Oyelowo through the ringer

Kevin Polowy
Senior Correspondent, Yahoo Entertainment
David Oyelowo, Charlize Theron, and Joel Edgerton in Gringo. (Photo: STX)

From the looks of the first trailer for Gringo, David Oyelowo‘s character goes through some serious hell. Harold Soyinka, dispatched to Mexico by the pharmaceutical snakes (Charlize Theron and Joel Edgerton) he works for, gets abducted by local drug lords and is physically (and emotionally) bruised and battered for the vast majority of the preview.

“Every day I felt like I had been put in a blender and then spilt onto my bed,” Oyelowo laughed, talking to Yahoo Entertainment about the darkly comedic action film directed by Nash Edgerton (The Square) from a script by Matthew Stone and Anthony Tambakis. “It was quite the journey.”

In fact, Oyelowo said he was literally put in a blender on the film’s south-of-the-border set, all under the most uncomfortable of circumstances. “We were shooting in Mexico, and I got the worst food poisoning imaginable. I literally thought I was going to die. And while in the middle of dealing with that, we had a scene where there’s this terrible car crash. [To film it] they put this car in the equivalent of a hamster wheel. So you’re basically spinning the car ’round and ’round.

“Imagine someone being put in a washing machine. And that is what I had to do in the middle of having terrible food poisoning. So when you see that moment in the film and I’m screaming, there’s no acting there.”

Human hamster wheels and stomach turns aside, Oyelowo relished the role. “The character I get to play in this film is actually a character I personally haven’t seen on film before. He’s a Nigerian immigrant who really believes in the American dream, probably to a detrimental level. And his belief in that dream, his belief in his co-workers, his desire to please, gets him into some terrible scrapes. So he goes on a journey of self-realization while amassing a massive amount of bumps and bruises.”

Actors out of their element, in fact, is a theme in the film’s casting, the Selma and Queen of Katwe alum explained. “What you’re going to see when you see the film is those actors, actors who I deeply admire, almost all of us are getting to do something a little bit different than what people are used to seeing us do.

“Charlize plays this really questionable human being. And Joel the same thing. Sharlto Copley is very unhinged. There’s the amazing Thandie Newton. We had a lot of fun playing these characters because there’s such a fine line between self-preservation and just downright immorality. And these characters are constantly right on that line.”

With that in mind, check out these exclusive new character posters from Gringo: