No stranger to playing strong female roles, Rosamund Pike mesmerises as the stubborn and unswayed Ruth Williams Khama in the epic biographical romantic film A United Kingdom.

Directed by Amma Asante and starring David Oyelowo – of Selma fame – as the defiant, brave Sir Seretse Khama, the 1940s love story between these initial star-crossed lovers is brought to the big screen from the Susan Williams book Colour Bar.

The film opened the 60th BFI London Film Festival in October after being screened at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival in September.

Speaking exclusively to IBTimes UK, Pike discussed the roles of women in film and what drew her to the part of Ruth. She said: "Everything about her. Everything drew me to it. The love story, the passion, the commitment to life, the courage.

"She reminded me of the spirit of my grandmothers. That spirit of when women had seen the potential they could have during the war and take on men's roles during the Second World War – and the ability and that appetite for courage that came; I loved all that.

"I relish the chance to see a love story on the screen between a black man and a white woman," she added.

The Gone Girl star, 37, also spoke about Hollywood creating more powerful female roles.

"I think the big zeitgeist is feminism. I think in cinema, that is what people really want to see. Men and women want to see inspirational women. We have got to keep seeking out their stories – they do matter," she said.

"It is what people want; you are in the entertainment industry, if it's not what people wanted then it wouldn't be wise to do it. You are supposed to be finding entertainment; but I think right where we are now, that is what people want – and that's exciting," she added.

A United Kingdom is in cinemas from 25 November.

November film preview: Fantastic Beasts, Arrival and A United Kingdom IBTimes UK