Djimon Hounsou

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Djimon Hounsou
Hounsou in 2016
Born
Djimon Gaston Hounsou

(1964-04-24) April 24, 1964 (age 60)
Citizenship
  • Benin
  • United States
Occupations
  • Actor
  • model
Years active1986–present
PartnerKimora Lee Simmons (2007–2012)
Children1

Djimon Gaston Hounsou (/ˈmən ˈns/, JY-mən OON-soo;[1] French: [dʒimɔ̃ unsu]; born April 24, 1964)[2] is a Beninese-born actor. He began his career appearing in music videos and made his film debut in Without You I'm Nothing (1990). He then earned widespread recognition for his role as Cinqué in the Steven Spielberg film Amistad (1997), which earned him a Golden Globe nomination. For his performances in In America (2002) and Blood Diamond (2006), Hounsou was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he portrays Korath the Pursuer in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Captain Marvel (2019) and What If...? (2021). In the DC Extended Universe, he appears as the Fisherman King in Aquaman (2018), and as the wizard Shazam in Shazam! (2019), Black Adam (2022), and Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023). His other notable films include Stargate (1994), Gladiator (2000), Constantine, The Island (both 2005), Special Forces (2011), How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014), Furious 7 (2015), The Legend of Tarzan (2016), A Quiet Place Part II (2021), Gran Turismo, Rebel Moon – Part One: A Child Of Fire (both 2023), and Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver (2024).

Hounsou made his directorial debut with the documentary film In Search of Voodoo: Roots to Heaven (2018).

Early life[edit]

Hounsou was born in Cotonou, Benin, to Albertine and Pierre Hounsou.[3] He immigrated to Lyon in France at the age of 12[4] with his brother Edmond. Soon after arriving there, he dropped out of school and was homeless for a time. A chance meeting with a photographer led to an introduction to fashion designer Thierry Mugler, who encouraged Hounsou to pursue a modelling career.[2] In 1987, he became a model and established a career in Paris. He moved to the United States in 1990.[citation needed][5]

Career[edit]

Acting[edit]

Hounsou at Final DipCon Opening Reception in 2013

Between 1989 and 1991, Hounsou appeared in the music videos for "Straight Up" by Paula Abdul, "Love Will Never Do (Without You)" by Janet Jackson, and Madonna's "Express Yourself".[6][7] He also appears in En Vogue's music video for "Hold On".

Hounsou's film debut was in the 1990 Sandra Bernhard film Without You I'm Nothing. He had television parts on Beverly Hills, 90210 and ER and a guest starring role on Alias. He had a larger role in the science fiction film Stargate.[2]

Hounsou received wide critical acclaim and a Golden Globe Award nomination for his role as Cinqué in the 1997 Steven Spielberg film Amistad, and gained further notice as Juba in the 2000 film Gladiator.[2] In 2004, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for In America, making him the fourth African male to be nominated for an Oscar. In 2005 he played a mercenary in the movie The Island alongside Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson. In 2006 he won the National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Blood Diamond, and received Broadcast Film Critics Association, Screen Actors Guild Award and Academy Award nominations for this performance.[2][8][unreliable source?]

Hounsou had a supporting role in the 2009 science-fiction film Push, as Agent Henry Carver.[9] In 2011, he starred as a French commando in the French film Forces spéciales.[10]

Director Tim Story told IGN that if he had done a third Fantastic Four film, he would have liked Hounsou to portray Black Panther.[11] In November 2008, it was announced that Hounsou would provide the voice of Black Panther in the television series of the same name.[12] He had signed on to play Abdiel in the film version of John Milton's Paradise Lost with Benjamin Walker and Bradley Cooper, but the film was scrapped in early February 2012.[13]

In 2013, he appeared in the comedy film Baggage Claim alongside Paula Patton. He also voiced Drago Blodfist in How to Train Your Dragon 2 and portrayed Korath the Pursuer in the Marvel Studios film Guardians of the Galaxy, both in 2014.[14][15] He played villains in two 2015 films: Seventh Son and Furious 7, the latter being the seventh installment of The Fast and the Furious franchise.[16]

In February 2016, it was reported that Hounsou would join the second season of the television series Wayward Pines.[17] Also in 2016, he played Chief Mbonga in The Legend of Tarzan.[18][failed verification]

In 2018 Hounsou joined the DC Extended Universe, voicing the Fisherman King Ricou in Aquaman (with the character motion-captured by Andrew Crawford). He then replaced Ron Cephas Jones as the Wizard Shazam in Shazam! (2019).[19][20] He reprised his role in Black Adam (2022) and Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023).[21][22] Also in 2019, he reprised his role as Korath in the Marvel Studios film Captain Marvel and then in the animated series What If...?.

In November 2022, it was announced that Honsou had joined the cast of the Gran Turismo film, with Geri Halliwell playing his wife.[23]

Modeling[edit]

On 24 February 2007, it was announced that Hounsou would be the new Calvin Klein underwear model. At the time, he was represented by Los Angeles modeling agent Omar Albertto.[24][25]

Other work[edit]

In 2010, Hounsou was featured as the narrator in ESPN's series of "32 Teams, 1 Dream" commercials for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. He spoke at the Summit on Climate Change at the United Nations on 22 September 2009.[26] On 1 December 2009, he told French media that developed countries "need to be held accountable" for their contribution to climate change.[27]

In 2018, Hounsou made his directorial debut with the documentary film In Search of Voodoo: Roots to Heaven, which examines the history, nature and religious practices of West African Vodun.[28][29] The documentary premiered at the Miami International Film Festival on 10 March 2018.[30]

In 2024, Hounsou had a guest performance on South African record producer and DJ Black Coffee's "Ode to Ancestors" song which was included in an EP inspired by Zack Snyder's movie, Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver.[31]

Personal life[edit]

In 2007, Hounsou began dating model Kimora Lee Simmons.[32] In 2009, Simmons gave birth to their son.[33] Hounsou and Simmons visited Hounsou's family in his native Benin in the summer of 2008, where the two participated in a traditional commitment ceremony. They were adorned in traditional clothing and used the ceremony, in the presence of Hounsou's family, to confirm that they were "dedicated to each other 100%", although they emphasized the ceremony was not a wedding. In the début of Kimora Lee Simmons' show Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane, he was billed as her husband.[34] Hounsou and Simmons, who were never legally married in the United States, announced their separation in November 2012.[35]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1990 Without You I'm Nothing Ex-Boyfriend
1992 Unlawful Entry Prisoner On Bench
1993 Killing Zoe Moïse (voice)
1994 Stargate Horus Credited as "Djimon"
1997 Ill Gotten Gains Fyah
Amistad Joseph Cinqué
1998 Deep Rising Vivo
2000 Gladiator Juba
2002 Le Boulet Detective Youssouf
The Four Feathers Abou Fatma
2003 In America Mateo
Biker Boyz 'Motherland'
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life Kosa
2004 Blueberry Woodhead
2005 Constantine Papa Midnite
Beauty Shop Joe
The Island Albert Laurent
2006 Blood Diamond Solomon Vandy
Eragon Ajihad
2008 Never Back Down Jean Roqua
2009 Push Henry Carver
2010 The Tempest Caliban
2011 Elephant White Curtis 'Curtie' Church
Special Forces Kovax
2013 Baggage Claim Quinton Jamison
2014 How to Train Your Dragon 2 Drago Bludvist (voice)
Guardians of the Galaxy Korath the Pursuer
Seventh Son Radu
2015 Furious 7 Mose Jakande
The Vatican Tapes Vicar Imani
Air Cartwright
2016 The Legend of Tarzan Chief Mbonga
2017 King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Bedivere
Same Kind of Different as Me Denver
2018 Aquaman King Ricou (voice)
In Search of Voodoo: Roots to Heaven Narrator Also director, writer and producer
Documentary film
2019 Serenity Duke
Captain Marvel Korath
Shazam! The Wizard
Charlie's Angels Edgar 'Bosley' Dessange
2020 A Quiet Place Part II Man On Island
2021 The King's Man Shola
2022 Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank Sumo (voice)
Black Adam The Wizard
2023 Shazam! Fury of the Gods
Gran Turismo Steve Mardenborough
Rebel Moon – Part One: A Child of Fire[36] General Titus
2024 Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver Post-production[37]
A Quiet Place: Day One Henri ("Man On Island") Post-production[38]
TBA Last Breath Filming[39]

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1990 Beverly Hills, 90210 Doorman Episode: "Class of Beverly Hills"
1999 ER Mobalage Ikabo 6 episodes
2000 The Wild Thornberrys Villager (voice) Episode: "Luck Be an Aye-Aye"
2001 Soul Food Victor Onuka Episode: "Games People Play"
2003–2004 Alias Kazari Bomani 3 episodes
2010 Black Panther T'Challa / Black Panther (voice) 6 episodes
2016 Wayward Pines CJ Mitchum 8 episodes
2018 DreamWorks Dragons Drago Bludvist (voice) Episode: "King of Dragons, Part 2"
2019 The Longest Day in Chang'an Master Ge Episode: "Time Of Great Waste"
2021 Invincible Martian Emperor (voice) Episode: "Neil Armstrong, Eat Your Heart Out"
2021 What If...? Korath (voice) Episode: "What If... T'Challa Became a Star-Lord?"

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2020 NBA 2K21 Coach Henry Bishop Also motion capture

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result
2004 Academy Awards Best Supporting Actor In America Nominated
2007 Blood Diamond Nominated
2004 Black Reel Awards In America Won
2007 Blood Diamond Won
Broadcast Film Critics Nominated
1998 Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Drama Amistad Nominated
2004 Independent Spirit Awards Best Supporting Male In America Won
1998 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture Amistad Won
2004 Outstanding Supporting Actor In America Nominated
2007 Blood Diamond Won
2006 National Board of Review Best Supporting Actor Won[40]
2001 Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Cast in a Motion Picture Gladiator Nominated
2004 In America Nominated
2007 Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role Blood Diamond Nominated[41]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hounsou, Djimon (May 26, 2016). "Tonight at 9/8c on #foxtv #waywardpines". Instagram. Archived from the original on 2021-12-26.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Djimon Hounsou: Biography". TV Guide. Archived from the original on June 11, 2013. Retrieved November 22, 2012.
  3. ^ Akyeampong, Emmanuel Kwaku; Gates, Henry Louis (February 2, 2012). Dictionary of African Biography. Vol. 1−6. Oxford University Press. p. 78. ISBN 9780195382075.
  4. ^ "Daily Show". Comedy Central. Archived from the original on May 10, 2017. Retrieved May 10, 2017.
  5. ^ Djimon Hounsou Biography - Yahoo! Movies Archived 2011-06-28 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Straight Up". Paula-Abdul.net. Archived from the original on September 17, 2012. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
  7. ^ "Love Will Never Do Without You". songfacts.com. Archived from the original on November 16, 2012. Retrieved December 20, 2012.
  8. ^ "Djimon Hounsou Awards". IMDb. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
  9. ^ "Push Djimon Hounsou Interview". About.com. Archived from the original on November 13, 2013. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
  10. ^ "Djimon Hounsou and Diane Kruger's SPECIAL FORCES Explodes onto Blu-ray & DVD in February". January 17, 2013. Archived from the original on November 13, 2013. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
  11. ^ "Story talks black panther". ign.com. May 8, 2007. Archived from the original on September 26, 2015. Retrieved September 19, 2015.
  12. ^ "Djimon Hounsou Roars as the Black Panther". Archived from the original on 2010-05-15. Retrieved 2008-11-12.
  13. ^ "Legendary Pulls Plug on Bradley Cooper's 'Paradise Lost'". The Hollywood Reporter. 9 February 2012. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved September 19, 2015.
  14. ^ "Alan Taylor Offers New 'Thor 2′ Details; Djimon Hounsou on 'Guardians of the Galaxy'". Screen Rant. Archived from the original on November 13, 2013. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
  15. ^ "Marvel Studios Begins Production on Guardians of the Galaxy". Marvel.com. July 20, 2013. Archived from the original on July 24, 2013. Retrieved July 20, 2013.
  16. ^ "Djimon Hounsou Joins Fast & Furious 7". empireonline.com. 12 September 2013. Archived from the original on 13 November 2013. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
  17. ^ Wagmeister, Elizabeth (February 17, 2016). "Djimon Hounsou cast in 'Wayward Pines' season 2". Variety. Archived from the original on February 18, 2016. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
  18. ^ "100+ Chief Mbonga Quotes in the Legend of Tarzan (2016)".
  19. ^ "Exclusive: DC's 'Shazam!' casts 'Guardians' actor Djimon Hounsou as the Wizard". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on 2018-07-10. Retrieved 2019-03-08.
  20. ^ "Exclusive: 'Aquaman' reveals first look at the exotic Fisherman King". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on 2021-03-05. Retrieved 2019-03-08.
  21. ^ Jirak, Jamie (July 23, 2021). "Shazam! Fury of the Gods Set Photo Reveals Return of Surprising Actor". ComicBook.com. Archived from the original on 2021-07-24. Retrieved July 24, 2021.
  22. ^ "Djimon Hounsou to Appear in Black Adam". Streamr. July 26, 2021. Archived from the original on October 12, 2022. Retrieved October 9, 2022.
  23. ^ ‘Gran Turismo’: Djimon Hounsou, Spice Girls’ Geri Halliwell-Horner Join Sony’s Racing Movie (Exclusive) The Hollywood Reporter. November 4, 2022
  24. ^ "Omar Albertto on FASHION NET". www.fashion.net. Archived from the original on 2017-09-05. Retrieved 2018-02-09.
  25. ^ "Calvin Klein's New Brief Boy". ashionweekdaily.com. February 23, 2007. Archived from the original on November 13, 2013. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
  26. ^ "NPR". NPR. Retrieved 21 December 2022.
  27. ^ "Developed countries need to be held accountable". Rfi.fr. 2009-12-02. Archived from the original on 2012-10-11. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
  28. ^ Lodge, Guy (12 March 2018). "Miami Film Review: 'In Search of Voodoo: Roots to Heaven'". Variety. Retrieved 21 October 2023.
  29. ^ Thompson, Anne (20 March 2018). "Miami Moviegoers Reveal the Role of Art Houses for Latin American Audiences". IndieWire. Retrieved 21 October 2023.
  30. ^ Sandoval, Shireen (9 March 2019). "Djimon Hounsou brings voodoo documentary to Miami Film Festival". WSVN. Retrieved 21 October 2023.
  31. ^ Kaufman, Gil (20 March 2024). "Jessie Reyez, Tainy, aespa, TOKiMONSTA & More Featured on 'Rebel Moon – Part Two' EP". Billboard. Archived from the original on 20 March 2024. Retrieved 4 April 2024.
  32. ^ Slonim, Jeffrey (November 15, 2012). "Russell Simmons Okay with Kimora & Djimon". People. Archived from the original on April 20, 2020. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  33. ^ "'Life in the Fab Lane' star Kimora Lee Simmons gives birth to baby boy". Reality TV World. June 1, 2009. Archived from the original on September 23, 2015. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  34. ^ "Kimora Lee Simmons, Djimon Hounsou Had Commitment Ceremony". Usmagazine.com. 2009-03-09. Archived from the original on 2010-06-09. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
  35. ^ Jordan, Julie (November 21, 2012). "Kimora Lee Simmons and Djimon Hounsou Separate". People. Archived from the original on February 12, 2017. Retrieved March 11, 2012.
  36. ^ Sharf, Zack (2022-02-09). "'Rebel Moon' First Look: Zack Snyder Debuts Concept Art From His 'Star Wars'-Inspired Netflix Epic". Variety. Archived from the original on 2022-02-09. Retrieved 2022-02-10.
  37. ^ "Zack Snyder's Rebel Moon 2 Releases On Netflix Just 5 Months After First Movie". Screen Rant. 22 August 2023.
  38. ^ Jirak, Jamie (March 12, 2023). "A Quiet Place Prequel Confirms Part II Star is Returning". ComicBook. Retrieved March 12, 2023.
  39. ^ Geisinger, Gabriella (8 June 2023). "Simu Liu, Woody Harrelson, Djimon Hounsou new movie Last Breath filming in Malta". KFTV.com.
  40. ^ "Winners: National Board Of Review". CBS News. 10 January 2007. Archived from the original on October 19, 2015. Retrieved September 19, 2015.
  41. ^ "Screen Actors Guild: The nominees". ew.com. Archived from the original on October 19, 2015. Retrieved September 19, 2015.

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