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Five Nights in Maine trailer: David Oyelowo and Dianne Wiest clash

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A bereaved man (played by the titanic Selma actor David Oyelowo), who is reeling from the loss of his wife in a car accident, travels to Maine to seek resolution with his wife’s estranged mother (two-time Oscar winner Dianne Wiest) in this exclusive trailer for the artful new drama, Five Nights in Maine

First-time feature director Maris Curran was introduced to Oyelowo at the Sundance Film Festival in 2012 by Ava DuVernay, who had just screened her film Middle of Nowhere, starring the actor. Curran handed Oyelowo the screenplay that she had written for especially him, and he read it later that night in his hotel room.

“I’m always looking for stories that scare me and challenge me and make me take a pause to wonder if I can actually achieve this,” Oyelowo tells EW. “And page after page of this script I wondered if I could portray this man who is going through so much — and do I dare expose myself to such fragile and vulnerable terrain?”

Curran shot the film in 19 days, entirely in the state of its title. Maine is not known widely for its cinematic depictions — probably the most famous film set there is Stephen King’s Pet Sematary —but the filmmaker points out that it offers a textured cultural and geographical scene-setter. “It’s a ruggedly beautiful place,” she says, “and it’s also the poorest, whitest place in the northeast. It’s a landscape where a character like David’s could find solace while also feeling quite alien.”

Oyelowo agrees. “We were in very remote, very beautiful Maine,” he says. “And you could go a long way and not see another person of color. People notice when you’re there as a black person. And part of the backdrop of the story is that my character and Dianne Wiest’s character are very different people with different experiences, but they have this one huge element of their lives in common. My character’s wife happened to be her daughter. That is the only connection they have, but it’s very real. And that was a very ripe circumstance for drama to ensue.” 

“I’m on a quest to challenge myself and hopefully by osmosis challenge the audience,” Oyelowo adds. That challenge will be faced by audiences when Five Nights in Maine opens in limited release on Aug. 5. Check out the trailer, above, and poster for the film, below.