Hollywood, the dream factory in America, is well-known as a melting pot for talent from all over the world. It is a place where people flock to try their luck as actors, directors, screenwriters, and such. A lot depends on luck, though – it can often feel like as random as playing slots at £1 deposit casinos, with their career depending on a lucky spin to hit the jackpot. The actors below seem to have drawn the lucky card – here are some of the most famous African actors currently in Hollywood.
Early in his career, Benin native Djimon Hounsou mostly worked as a model, playing small parts in music videos and movies until he was cast for the role of Cinque in Stephen Spielberg’s “Amistad” (1997). From then on, his career took off – he landed roles in high-profile movies like Ridley Scott’s “Gladiator”, Jim Sheridan’s “In America”, and the role of Korath the Pursuer in Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy”.
During his career, he was nominated for two Academy Awards for his roles in “In America” and “Blood Diamond”. He currently plays the Fisherman King in the upcoming “Aquaman” movie, reprises his role as Korath in the upcoming Captain Marvel film, and will play The Wizard in DC’s upcoming superhero comedy “Shazam!”
Well-known for his multiple movie and television roles, Idris Elba has been rumored to become the first black to play 007 in an upcoming James Bond movie. He was born and raised in the United Kingdom to African parents: his father, Winston, is from Sierra Leone and his mother, Eve, is from Ghana. Idris Elba became world-famous for the role in Beasts of No Nation (it landed him a Golden Globe nomination), and since then, he has played a variety of roles, including that of Heimdall in Marvel’s “Thor” series.
The story of Liya Kebede would be worth a movie in itself. Born and raised in Addis-Abeba, Ethiopia, she was attending school when she was spotted by a film director and introduced to a French modeling agent. In time, she moved to France to pursue a modeling career and later relocated to New York. Her movie career started in 2005 when she played Faith in Andrew Niccol’s “Lord of War”, along with Nicolas Cage. She currently plays in a TV movie called “Mogadishu, Minnesota”, about a Somali family living in the US, directed by Somalian director K’Naan.
A South Africa native, Presley Chweneyagae rose to prominence when playing the title role of the 2005 film Tsotsi that won an Oscar for being the Best Foreign Language Film of the Year. Since then, he has played in a series of movies and TV shows, and made his directorial debut with the 2009 film “Menda City”.
Last but not least, let us mention Hakeem Kae-Kazim, the 55-year-old actor born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria. As a child, Kae-Kazim moved to London with his family where he began playing at the National Youth Theatre. Then, he went on to play with the Royal National Theatre, where he had the chance to play with big names like Ian McKellen and Brian Cox. He successfully transitioned to TV and film, being cast for a variety of roles in different productions, including doing voicework for a series of successful video games.