There is a colossal respect attached to being a successful African actor in the bigger leagues of filmmaking across the world, whether in Hollywood, Bollywood or any other established territory or market, for that matter.
Back here in Africa, especially Nigeria most people feel this sense of importance when they see their fellow African play a lead or supporting role in a major movie produced in say, Hollywood.
It is a good feeling for most people across the continent not because they are not used to seeing their stars get to the top in that field but because, it usually takes a lot of man hours, image-massaging, skill and diligence to achieve platinum filmmaking status in the West especially in a jurisdiction like Hollywood, where a lot of factors including race sometimes determine whether you would even get a cameo role or not. Chronicled for your reading pleasure, by Jav Fredericks Imoni are some of Africa’s finest exports, multi award winning, most sought after actors, who are shining in the West. Enjoy!
Chiwetelu Umeadi Ejiofor
Chiwetelu Umeadi "Chiwetel" Ejiofor, OBE, born 10 July 1977, is a British actor of stage and screen. He has received numerous acting awards and award nominations, including the 2006 BAFTA Awards Rising Star, three Golden Globe Awards' nominations, and the 2008 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor for his performance in Othello.
Ejiofor was born in London's Forest Gate, to Nigerian parents who belonged to the Igbo ethnic group. His father, Arinze, was a doctor, and his mother, Obiajulu, was a pharmacist. In 1988, when Ejiofor was 11, tragedy occurred during a family trip to Nigeria for a wedding. After the celebrations, his father and Ejiofor were driving to Lagos, when their car was involved in a head-on crash with a lorry. His father was killed, but Ejiofor survived despite being badly injured, receiving the trademark scars on his forehead. Ejiofor began acting in school plays at the age of thirteen at Dulwich College and joined the National Youth Theatre. He played the title role in Othello at the Bloomsbury Theatre in September 1995, and again at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow in 1996 when he starred opposite Rachael Stirling, who played Desdemona.
Ejiofor made his film debut in the television film Deadly Voyage in 1996. He went on to become a prominent stage actor in London. In Steven Spielberg's Amistad, he gave memorable support to Djimon Hounsou's Cinque as interpreter Ens. James Covey. In 1999, he appeared in the British film G: MT. In 2000, he starred in Blue/Orange at the Royal National Theatre (Cottesloe stage), and later at the Duchess Theatre. That same year, his performance as Romeo in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet was nominated for the Ian Charleson Award. Ejiofor was awarded the Jack Tinker Award for Most Promising Newcomer at the 2000 Critics' Circle Theatre Awards. For his performance in Blue/Orange, he received the 2000 London Evening Standard Theatre Award for Outstanding Newcomer and a 2001 nomination for the Laurence Olivier Theatre Award Best Supporting Actor.
Ejiofor had his first leading film role in 2002's Dirty Pretty Things, for which he won a British Independent Film Award for best actor. In the following year, he was part of the ensemble cast of Love Actually; starred in a BBC adaptation of Chaucer's The Knight's Tale and also starred in the BBC series Trust. He starred alongside Hilary Swank in 2004's Red Dust, portraying the fictional politician Alex Mpondo of post-apartheid South Africa. He played the central part of Prince Alamayou in Peter Spafford's radio play, I Was a Stranger, broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on 17 May 2004, and he played the god Dionysus, alongside Paul Scofield's Cadmus and Diana Rigg's Agave, in Andrew Rissik's play, Dionysus, based upon Euripides' Bacchae, also broadcast by the BBC. He also received acclaim for his performance as a complex antagonist The Operative in the 2005 film, Serenity. Ejiofor played a revolutionary in the highly acclaimed 2006 film, Children of Men. His singing and acting performance in Kinky Boots received Golden Globe and British Independent Film Award nominations. He was also nominated for the 2006 BAFTA Rising Star Award, which recognises emerging British film talent. Ejiofor's performance in Tsunami: The Aftermath received a 2007 Golden Globe nomination for best actor in a mini-series or film made for TV.
Ejiofor is considered one of the leading candidates to play T'Challa in the proposed Black Panther film based on the Marvel comic books character.
He was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2008 Birthday Honours. In the same year, he made his directorial debut in the short film, Slapper, which he also wrote, based on an idea by editor/director Yusuf Pirhasan.
Ejiofor was the lead alongside John Cusack in the 2009 film 2012. The film went on to gross over $700 million, and is among the list of highest-grossing films of all time and placing 5th of top films of 2009, he also starred alongside Hollywood sex symbol, Angelina Jolie, in the action packed movie SALT. And he`s to star as Fela, in the Bio pic movie for late Afro beat legend, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti.
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje born 22 August 1967 is a British actor, and former fashion model best known for his roles as Mr. Eko on Lost, Simon Adebisi on Oz and Nykwana Wombosi in The Bourne Identity. Adewale was born in Islington, London. His parents are Nigerian of Yoruba origin. He has a law degree from Kings College London and masters in Law from the University of London.
His best known acting roles have been as the imposing convicts Simon Adebisi in the 1990s HBO prison series Oz, and as Mr. Eko on ABC's survivor drama Lost. He was also in an episode of New York Undercover. He has numerous film credits since he began acting in 1994 and has appeared in many top films, including The Bourne Identity, in which he played a deposed African dictator, Hitu the police officer in Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, Lock-Nah in The Mummy Returns, and Heavy Duty in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. In 2009, Akinnuoye-Agbaje told MTV that he was in talks with Marvel Studios to play Black Panther in the film of the same name. When asked, the actor replied “We’re talking to Marvel about ‘Black Panther… This is the first round, so you know; hopefully they’ll look at ‘G.I. Joe’ and see the potential. But it’s about time we have a black superhero, isn’t it? He’s from a fictional village in Africa and the timing is so right for that kind of character to come through… And while I’m in my prime, this is the time. We’ve got U.S. President Barack Obama, now we need something onscreen to represent, so… ‘Panther,’ man I would love to see that happen, and I think the more we – my people – campaign for that, the more viable it will be. And I mean, obviously appearing in cult-classics and blockbusters all help, we’re very much on [Marvel's] radar…I think it’s all about campaigning, I’m going to keep knocking on their door.” However, Marvel Studios have not yet confirmed that he will get the role.
Akinnuoye-Agbaje has also stated that he will be directing a film about his life story. More recently, he guest starred in the second episode of season 8 of Monk, and played Derek Jameson in the 2011 film The Thing.
Sophie Okonedo, OBE (born 1968) is a British actress, who has starred both in successful British and American productions. In 1991, she made her acting debut in the British critically acclaimed coming-of-age drama, Young Soul Rebels. She has received an Academy Award nomination for her critically acclaimed role in Hotel Rwanda, a Golden Globe nomination for Tsunami: The Aftermath, and BAFTA nominations for Criminal Justice and Mrs. Mandela. Her other film roles included Aeon Flux, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, Dirty Pretty Things, Skin , and The Secret Life of Bees.
Okonedo was born in London, England, the daughter of Joan (née Allman), a pilates teacher, and Henry Okonedo (1939–2009), who worked for the government. Her father was Nigerian, and her mother, an Ashkenazi Jew, was born in the East End to Yiddish-speaking immigrants from Poland and Russia; Okonedo was brought up Jewish. When Okonedo was five years old, her father left the family, and she was subsequently brought up in relative poverty by her single mother ("but we always had books," she has said).
Sophie trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. She has worked in a variety of media including film, television, theatre, and audio drama. She performed in Scream of the Shalka, a webcast based on the BBC television series Doctor Who as Alison Cheney, a companion of the Doctor. As well as providing the character's voice, Okonedo's likeness was used for the animation of the character. In 2010, Okonedo portrayed Liz Ten (Queen Elizabeth X) in the BBC TV Series Doctor Who episodes "The Beast Below" and again briefly in "The Pandorica Opens".
Okonedo played the role of Jenny in Danny Brocklehurst's BAFTA nominated episode of Paul Abbott series, Clocking Off. She also played the part of Ms. Tulip Jones in the movie Storm breaker (2006) and Nancy in the 2007 television adaptation of Oliver Twist. She is also known for playing the part of the Wachati Princess in Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls.
She was nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Best Supporting Actress in 2004 for her role as Tatiana Rusesabagina in Hotel Rwanda and nominated for a Golden Globe for a Lead Actress in a Miniseries for her work in Tsunami: The Aftermath.
She played alongside Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, and Dakota Fanning as May Boatwright, a woman who struggles with depression, in the film The Secret Life of Bees (2008); opposite Sam Neill and Alice Krige as Sandra Laing in Skin (2009), and portrayed Winnie Mandela in the BBC drama Mrs. Mandela broadcast in January 2010.
Okonedo was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2010 Queen's Birthday Honours. She has a daughter, Aoife (born 1997), from her previous relationship with Irish film editor Eoin Martin. They live in Muswell Hill, London. On her heritage, Sophie says, "I feel as proud to be Jewish as I feel to be black" and calls her daughter an "Irish, Nigerian Jew"
Her father Henry died on 22 July 2009 in Orlando, Florida.
This dark skinned actor, producer and screenwriter, was born on the 27th of June 1973, in Forest Gate, London of Nigerian descent (Nigerian British). He landed his first professional screen role on the British television show, Press Gang, playing a police officer. After a season with the National Youth Music Theatre (NYMT) winning the Edinburgh Festival Fringe First Award with Aesop, A New Opera and playing the lead Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls, Adoti was accepted into the Central School of Speech and Drama where he studied for three years earning his Degree in Acting.
He was cast as Yamba in Steven Spielberg’s feature epic, Amistad alongside Anthony Hopkins, Morgan Freeman and Matthew McConaughey. After completing Amistad, he returned to London where he worked on various television and film projects. This included. Paul Maguigan's Gangster No. 1, and Black Hawk Down with director Ridley Scott, playing the antagonist Yousuf Dahir Mo'alim. Since then, Adoti has starred in numerous productions including Paul W. S. Anderson’s Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Haven, Doom and The Hard Corps. Adoti also starred as Dutch Maas in Bill Duke’s 2008 film, Cover.
Adoti, through his Area Boyz production company, has written a screenplay Sons of the Soil (formerly Area Boyz) to be shot in England and Nigeria. He was also the host and co-producer on the Fox Soccer Channel television show titled Extra Time.
Born on 27 August 1959 in Accra, Ghana, Peter is an English/Ghanaian actor, best known for his roles in Tears of the Sun and 300, and more recently on the Starz original series, Spartacus: Blood and Sand, Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, and Spartacus: Vengeance.
Mensah comes from an academic family. He was born in Ghana, to parents of the Ashanti people, but he moved to Hertfordshire, England, with his father (an engineer), his mother (a writer) and two younger sisters at a young age. Mensah moved to Canada 12 years ago. He emigrated from Britain, to broaden his horizon, having at the back of his mind whether to go to Canada or Australia, but then, the paperwork for Canada came through first.
Mensah's film credits include Avatar 300, Hidalgo, Tears of the Sun, Jason X, Harvard Man, Bless the Child and The Incredible Hulk. He also stars in the short film The Seed, produced and directed by Linkin Park's DJ Joe Hahn. He has made television appearances in Star Trek: Enterprise, Tracker, Witchblade, Blue Murder, Relic Hunter, and Earth: Final Conflict, Highlander: The Raven, Final Destination, and La Femme Nikita. Recently, he did the voice and likeness of Sgt. Zach Hammond in EA's video game Dead Space.
Mensah, who has practiced martial arts since he was aged 6, played the character Oenomaus in Spartacus: Vengeance and was on the Spartacus Panel at Comic Con 2009. Last year 2012, he appeared on True Blood as Kibwe, the gentleman vampire from Africa.
As the child of a Sierra Leonean father and a Ghanaian mother, Afro-British cinema and television actor Idris Elba built his reputation as a performer in sitcoms and cable dramas during the 1990s and early 2000s before sojourning into Hollywood movies in 2005.
Born in London on September 6, 1972, and raised in the Hackney borough of that city (in the northeast quadrant), Elba pursued acting as a high school student at the behest of a drama teacher. Although his film, television, and stage work officially commenced around 1992, Elba's premiere credited role arrived in 1995, with a supporting role on the episode of the farcical British series Absolutely_Fabulous, entitled "Sex." Many supporting roles on British television followed, including such series as Bramwell, The Bill, Degrees of Error, The_Ruth_Rendell_Mysteries, and The Governor. Elba grew deeply frustrated, however, over the seemingly irrepressible tendency of British casting directors to peg him in supporting roles. "Back in London," he later recalled, "I was always just going to be the best friend, or the crook or the detective on the side." When Elba couldn’t take no more of this, he immigrated to the United States. A couple of years of inactivity ensued, but after a supporting turn on a 2001 episode of Law & Order, Elba landed a starring role on a 2002 HBO cop drama The_Wire
In that part -- Elba's best-known and highest-profiled to date -- he plays pusher "Stringer" Bell, the second in command to drug-dealing kingpin Avon Barksdale (Wood_Harris). Elba immediately became notorious for daring to impart a pronounced level of affability to Stringer (despite the character's profession); as a result, the role attained widespread popularity with viewers and helped put the series on the map. Elba stayed on the series through its first three seasons.
Elba then transitioned into big-screen roles; his most prominent turns included that of Rev. Frank, a Southern Baptist minister and gospel music hopeful threatened by the arrival of an old friend who challenges his pastoral position, in Rob_Hardy's powerful spiritual drama The_Gospel (2005); Augustin Muganza, a Hutu captain grappling with the 1994 Rwandan genocide in the mind-blowing HBO historical drama Sometimes in April (2005); and a scientist and partner of Hilary_Swank's professional debunker of religious myths in Stephen_Hopkins' gothic, biblically themed horror picture The_Reaping (2007).
In 2006, Elba also signed on as the lead of the seriocomedy Tyler_Perry's_Daddy's_Little_Girls (2007), playing Monty, a blue-collar mechanic who falls in love with a six-figure attorney (Gabrielle_Union) and finds the relationship threatened by the re-arrival of his ex-wife. He also joined the supporting cast of Juan_Carlos_Fresnadillo's 28_Weeks_Later, the horror-themed sequel to Danny_Boyle's 2002 zombie picture 28_Days_Later. Nathan Southern, Rovi ..He was in Nigeria recently for a movie production.
As an actor, dancer, and choreographer, Obba Babatunde is known as a remarkably versatile performer who has an almost chameleon-like ability to portray a vast array of characters. His acting, dancing, and singing talents have made Babatunde a performer in high demand, with roles on stage, film and even the small screen.
Born in Jamaica, New York, Babatunde has performed in one way or another since the age of six. As a young boy, he loved entertaining, and often staged shows for his family, singing, dancing, and acting. His name, Obba, means "King" in Nigeria, while his surname Babatunde means, "the spirit of the grandfather returned in the child." Interestingly, Babatunde's great-grandfather, grandfather, father, and his son were all born on the same day as the actor himself. In an effort to sum up the many interesting facts and events of his life, Babatunde, in the midst of his career, wrote his own one man show Obba In Concert.
In addition to his abilities as an actor, Babatunde is also a self-taught musician. After teaching himself the trumpet, Babatunde made his professional musical debut, at the age of fourteen, with the Metropolitan Brass Ensemble, also touring the West Indies with this group. Babatunde then learned to play West African percussion instruments, an encounter that led him to develop a deep interest in West African folklore. He went on to gain an impressive expertise in the field, becoming a consultant on West African folklore, and going on to work with several West African ballet companies. Eventually, he formed his own dance company, the International African American Ballet.
Babatunde graduated from Brooklyn College, after which he, along with his brother, began working as a teacher and administrator at the Harriet Tubman School, a private school for children of color. During his years as a teacher, Babatunde appeared in off-off Broadway and off Broadway shows. He also worked as a voice-over artiste for television commercials. As his theater commitments became more demanding, it became difficult for Babatunde to balance his teaching job with his acting career. In 1976 he joined a touring company of Guys and Dolls, starring Leslie Uggams and Richard Roundtree. He regards his role in this production as one of his first major breaks. The next year, he made his film debut in Short Eyes, a prison drama. In 1977 and 1978 Babatunde had a supporting role in the Broadway musical, Timbuktu, starring Eartha Kitt. His role, Chakaba, required him to walk on stilts, and brought him considerable critical acclaim. After finishing up Timbuktu, Babatunde was a featured performer in Liza Minelli's world tour. All these performances and their successes brought Babatunde critical praise and recognition, prompting him to give up teaching and pursue acting on a full time basis.
Critics and audiences have warmly received many Babatunde's performances, including his role as C. C. White in the original production of Dreamgirls, his portrayal of Jelly Roll Morton in the world premiere of Jelly's Last Jam, and his appearance as attorney Rusty Bennett on the soap opera All My Children. During these years, he was also a stand-by for Ben Vereen in Hal Prince's Grind--Babatunde suddenly got the opportunity to fill in for Vereen during a Saturday matinee that was already in progress. Although he had not had the opportunity to rehearse with the full company, Babatunde's performance was so polished that he received a standing ovation. From then on, Babatunde completed the run of the show. In another display of artistic versatility, Babatunde appeared as a dancer in Baryshnikov on Broadway in 1980, an engagement that led to his role in Dreamgirls.
Babatunde has acknowledged the late Sammy Davis Jr. as his thespian muse. In turn, Davis, after watching Babatunde's Obba in Concert, called him a "bitch on wheels." In an interview with Shelby J. Jones for www.blackfilms.com, Babatunde declared, "I would say that I am cut from the same cloth as many of the entertainers I grew up watching. Great talents like Sammy Davis, Jr.--a man who did it all and did it all great (singing, dancing, and acting) giving a great deal of focus to details in each area of the craft. He mastered all that he set out to do through study, practice, and dedication to the art form." Babatunde also gives Davis credit for opening the door in creating opportunities for African-American performers, openly admitting that he is one of the direct beneficiaries of Davis's pioneering efforts. Like Davis, Babatunde enjoys all aspects of his craft, enjoying working in the limelight, while appreciating the talent behind-the-scenes as well. For example, in his role as narrator and fellow prison inmate in Life, starring Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence, his character aged forty years over the course of the story. Babatunde was thrilled to be working directly with Academy award-winning make-up artist, Rick Baker.
Nonso Anozie was born on the 28th of May 1979. He is a British actor who has appeared in several stage plays and four films. In the summer of 2002 he played the title role in William Shakespeare's King Lear, and won the Ian Charleson Award in 2004 for his performance in Othello.
Anozie was hired in 2006 to provide the voice for the armoured bear Iorek Byrnison in the film adaptation of Philip Pullman's Northern Lights, but was replaced by Ian McKellen two months before the film was set to be released, by the film's director, Chris Weitz.
"It was a studio decision ... You can understand why you would cast Ian McKellen for anything. But letting go of Nonso was one of the most painful experiences on this movie for me. I need to say about Nonso that he is one of the most promising and soulful young actors I have encountered in England and I’ve worked here for quite a bit now and he’s actually in the next Mike Leigh [film] ... But it was, uh, that was kind of a dark day for me. I kinda wanna go out of my way to point out how much I love Nonso’s work. And that’s that." Chris says.
Anozie played small roles as Think Tank in Guy Ritchie's film RocknRolla and Frank Mace in Joe Wright's Atonement. In 2009, he appeared in the supporting cast of the BBC TV three part 2003 Iraq War drama, Occupation, where he played a US Marine turned private military contractor. In 2011, he played Artus, a Zamoran pirate and close friend of Conan, in Conan the Barbarian. That year he was also cast to play the role of Xaro Xhoan Daxos in the HBO series Game of Thrones.
Actor, martial artist, fight choreographer, producer, director (born 24 November 1982)
Ansah was born in London, England of mixed ethnicity, the second son of celebrated Ghanaian fashion designer Kofi and his Devon-born wife Nicola. He lived in London for the first 10 years of his life before immigrating with his family to Ghana. While in Ghana, he studied the martial art of Tae Kwon Do for 4 years and took up hip hop dance and motorbike racing. At 15 he returned to England, settling with his mother and young sister in Plymouth. Whilst studying for his GCSEs and A levels at Devonport High School for Boys, he began training in the martial art of Ninjutsu. This would include a period of training with Ninjutsu Grandmaster Hatsumi Sensei. Later, while studying for his degree in Human Biology at Oxford Brookes University, he began training in the Brazilian martial art of Capoeira. He also worked as a model and extra at this time.
His first important role as an actor was in the UK indie film Love Struck (2005). Notable appearances on British TV followed in episodes of BBC productions Spooks (2005) and Timewatch (2006).
Ansah went on to play a minor role as one of the Shadow Warriors in Batman Begins (2005). However, his most noteworthy role to date came in 2007, when Ansah appeared in The Bourne Ultimatum as Desh Bouksani, an assassin tracking down Jason Bourne. His performance was notable for an extended set-piece fight scene between himself and Matt Damon, regarded by one reviewer as one of the best ever filmed, in which Ansah performed all of his own stunts. In 2008 he was nominated for a MTV Film Award in the 'Best Fight' category.
Ansah has also acted in British independent martial arts films, such as Left for Dead and Underground.
He has choreographed, co-written and directed the fan film short Street Fighter: Legacy. A self-proclaimed fan of the video game series, Ansah wanted the short to be the most accurate depiction of the series different than the two theatrically released films, which were not in the style of his perception. His artistic family includes: Kofi Ansah (father) – fashion designer, Kwaw Ansah (uncle) – award-winning film director Tumi Ebow Ansah (uncle) – actor, composer, ethnomusicologist and researcher Ryan Ansah (brother) – musician, and Tanoa Ansah (sister)
Gbenga Akinnagbe with other names Enita Temitope, an American actor, best known for his role as Chris Partlow on the HBO original series The Wire, was born in Washington, D.C. on the 12th of December 1978, to Nigerian parents and raised in Silver Spring, Maryland; Akinnagbe was in and out of trouble as a youth. He is the second oldest of six children, one older sister and four younger brothers. He is the first in his family to be born in the U.S. He attended Colonel Zadok A. Magruder High School in Rockville, Maryland. Akinnagbe attended Bucknell University on a wrestling scholarship, majoring in Political Science and English. He is the cousin of DC rapper Wale.
He played "Ben Ellis" in the episode Contenders on the TV Series Numbers. In the summer of 2006, Akinnagbe performed the role of "Zim" in the NYC Fringe Festival's "Outstanding Play" award-winning production of "Modern Missionary". In 2003, Akinnagbe auditioned for the role of Chris Partlow on the HBO series, The Wire and starting in 2004 began a frequent recurring role. In 2008 during the show's fifth and final season, he was promoted to a series regular. In 2007, Akinnagbe appeared in the film The Savages with Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Laura Linney, and Philip Bosco. He appeared in the remake of The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, which was released by Sony in June 2009. Akinnagbe made a guest appearance on a Season 10 Law and Order: SVU episode entitled "Hell" as Elijah Okello, a former Ugandan child soldier living in New York, facing deportation. Akinnagbe's former The Wire cast mate Robert Wisdom also appeared in that episode as Father Theo Burdett. In 2010 in Seattle, WA Akinnagbe starred in world premiere play The Thin Place at The Intiman Theatre. He was also in this fall's movie Lottery Ticket and is currently in The Good Wife as Pastor Isiah Easton. His former co-star from the The Wire, Frankie Faison, portrayed his father on the show in several episodes. He is currently starring as Kelly Slater, a new nurse in the 3rd Season of the Showtime series Nurse Jackie.
As of 2009, Gbenga has begun a writing career, having had two articles published in the New York Times, one detailing a trip to Nepal to climb the Himalayas, and the other outlining the medical procedures he underwent to correct his severely flat feet.
Jaye Davidson, born Alfred Amey; March 21, 1968 is an American-British former actor and model. He is best known for his roles as transgender woman "Dil" in the 1992 suspense-drama thriller film The Crying Game, for which he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, making him the first Black British actor to be nominated for an Oscar, and in 1994's Stargate as Ra.
Davidson was born in Riverside, California, outside of Los Angeles, to a Ghanaian father and English mother. His family moved to the United Kingdom when he was two years old, where Davidson grew up in Hertfordshire, England. Davidson, who had no acting experience, was discovered by a casting associate at a wrap party for Derek Jarman's Edward II. His androgynous look led to his casting as Dil in The Crying Game.
After filming wrapped, he returned to his fashion career until landing the role of the evil sun god Ra in Stargate opposite Kurt Russell and James Spader.
Jaye was voted best newcomer by the National Board of Review, 1993; Oscar nomination for best supporting actor, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, 1993.
Boris Frederic Cecil Tay-Natey Ofuatey-Kodjoe; born 8 March 1973, better known as Boris Kodjoe, is an Austrian-born German actor and former fashion model who works primarily in the United States. He is perhaps best known for his role as courier-turned-sports agent Damon Carter on the Showtime television drama series Soul Food and for his role as David Taylor in the film The Gospel. Additionally, he starred as Steven Bloom in the cancelled 2010 NBC action/drama series Undercovers, and as Luther in the film Resident Evil: Afterlife.
Kodjoe attended Virginia Commonwealth University on a tennis scholarship, and graduated with a bachelor's degree in marketing in 1996. A four-year letterman on the Rams' men's tennis team, he is currently ninth in school history with 75 career singles wins. Tied for third in doubles victories with 66, he was paired with Jonas Elmblad on 37 of them, also third all-time. His brother Patrick Kodjoe played for VCU's basketball team. A back injury ended Boris' tennis aspirations, but he was quickly signed as a model and soon after entered acting.
Named one of the "50 Most Beautiful People in the World" by People magazine in 2002, Kodjoe is perhaps best known as one of the seven regular cast members from the Showtime drama Soul Food, which aired from 2000 to 2004. He appeared in the 2002 film Brown Sugar and starred in the short-lived sitcom Second Time Around with his Soul Food co-star Nicole Ari Parker, whom he eventually married. He played the role of David Taylor, the wayward son of Pastor Fred Taylor in the October 2005 film The Gospel. He performed in a play called Whatever She Wants starring Vivica A. Fox and made an appearance on the fifth season of Nip/Tuck. His most recent role was in the 2009 science fiction film Surrogates. On December 16, 2009, it was announced that Kodjoe had been cast as the male lead, Steven Bloom, in the new J. J. Abrams television series Undercovers; the show premiered in September and was subsequently cancelled in November 2010 on NBC. Also that year, he appeared as Luther in the film Resident Evil: Afterlife.Kodjoe was born in Vienna, Austria, the son of Ursula, a German psychologist, and Eric Kodjoe, a Ghanaian physician. Kodjoe's parents divorced when he was six years old and he grew up in the vicinity of Freiburg in Breisgau. He is fluent in French, English, and German, and speaks some Spanish. Kodjoe married his Soul Food: The Series co-star Nicole Ari Parker on May 21, 2005 in Gundelfingen, Germany. She gave birth to their first child, a girl, Sophie Tei-Naaki Lee Kodjoe, on March 5, 2005. Sophie has spina bifida, which was diagnosed at birth. Parker gave birth to the couple's second child, a boy, Nicolas Neruda Kodjoe, on October 31, 2006. Kodjoe and his wife are members of Cascade United Methodist Church in Atlanta, Georgia.